Persuasive Essay Guide

Persuasive Essay About Abortion

Caleb S.

Crafting a Convincing Persuasive Essay About Abortion

Persuasive Essay About Abortion

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Are you about to write a persuasive essay on abortion but wondering how to begin?

Writing an effective persuasive essay on the topic of abortion can be a difficult task for many students. 

It is important to understand both sides of the issue and form an argument based on facts and logical reasoning. This requires research and understanding, which takes time and effort.

In this blog, we will provide you with some easy steps to craft a persuasive essay about abortion that is compelling and convincing. Moreover, we have included some example essays and interesting facts to read and get inspired by. 

So let's start!

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  • 1. How To Write a Persuasive Essay About Abortion?
  • 2. Persuasive Essay About Abortion Examples
  • 3. Examples of Argumentative Essay About Abortion
  • 4. Abortion Persuasive Essay Topics
  • 5. Facts About Abortion You Need to Know

How To Write a Persuasive Essay About Abortion?

Abortion is a controversial topic, with people having differing points of view and opinions on the matter. There are those who oppose abortion, while some people endorse pro-choice arguments. 

It is also an emotionally charged subject, so you need to be extra careful when crafting your persuasive essay .

Before you start writing your persuasive essay, you need to understand the following steps.

Step 1: Choose Your Position

The first step to writing a persuasive essay on abortion is to decide your position. Do you support the practice or are you against it? You need to make sure that you have a clear opinion before you begin writing. 

Once you have decided, research and find evidence that supports your position. This will help strengthen your argument. 

Check out the video below to get more insights into this topic:

Step 2: Choose Your Audience

The next step is to decide who your audience will be. Will you write for pro-life or pro-choice individuals? Or both? 

Knowing who you are writing for will guide your writing and help you include the most relevant facts and information.

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Step 3: Define Your Argument

Now that you have chosen your position and audience, it is time to craft your argument. 

Start by defining what you believe and why, making sure to use evidence to support your claims. You also need to consider the opposing arguments and come up with counter arguments. This helps make your essay more balanced and convincing.

Step 4: Format Your Essay

Once you have the argument ready, it is time to craft your persuasive essay. Follow a standard format for the essay, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. 

Make sure that each paragraph is organized and flows smoothly. Use clear and concise language, getting straight to the point.

Step 5: Proofread and Edit

The last step in writing your persuasive essay is to make sure that you proofread and edit it carefully. Look for spelling, grammar, punctuation, or factual errors and correct them. This will help make your essay more professional and convincing.

These are the steps you need to follow when writing a persuasive essay on abortion. It is a good idea to read some examples before you start so you can know how they should be written.

Continue reading to find helpful examples.

Persuasive Essay About Abortion Examples

To help you get started, here are some example persuasive essays on abortion that may be useful for your own paper.

Short Persuasive Essay About Abortion

Persuasive Essay About No To Abortion

What Is Abortion? - Essay Example

Persuasive Speech on Abortion

Legal Abortion Persuasive Essay

Persuasive Essay About Abortion in the Philippines

Persuasive Essay about legalizing abortion

You can also read m ore persuasive essay examples to imp rove your persuasive skills.

Examples of Argumentative Essay About Abortion

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that presents both sides of an argument. These essays rely heavily on logic and evidence.

Here are some examples of argumentative essay with introduction, body and conclusion that you can use as a reference in writing your own argumentative essay. 

Abortion Persuasive Essay Introduction

Argumentative Essay About Abortion Conclusion

Argumentative Essay About Abortion Pdf

Argumentative Essay About Abortion in the Philippines

Argumentative Essay About Abortion - Introduction

Abortion Persuasive Essay Topics

If you are looking for some topics to write your persuasive essay on abortion, here are some examples:

  • Should abortion be legal in the United States?
  • Is it ethical to perform abortions, considering its pros and cons?
  • What should be done to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions?
  • Is there a connection between abortion and psychological trauma?
  • What are the ethical implications of abortion on demand?
  • How has the debate over abortion changed over time?
  • Should there be legal restrictions on late-term abortions?
  • Does gender play a role in how people view abortion rights?
  • Is it possible to reduce poverty and unwanted pregnancies through better sex education?
  • How is the anti-abortion point of view affected by religious beliefs and values? 

These are just some of the potential topics that you can use for your persuasive essay on abortion. Think carefully about the topic you want to write about and make sure it is something that interests you. 

Check out m ore persuasive essay topics that will help you explore other things that you can write about!

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Facts About Abortion You Need to Know

Here are some facts about abortion that will help you formulate better arguments.

  • According to the Guttmacher Institute , 1 in 4 pregnancies end in abortion.
  • The majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester.
  • Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, with less than a 0.5% risk of major complications.
  • In the United States, 14 states have laws that restrict or ban most forms of abortion after 20 weeks gestation.
  • Seven out of 198 nations allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • In places where abortion is illegal, more women die during childbirth and due to complications resulting from pregnancy.
  • A majority of pregnant women who opt for abortions do so for financial and social reasons.
  • According to estimates, 56 million abortions occur annually.

In conclusion, these are some of the examples, steps, and topics that you can use to write a persuasive essay. Make sure to do your research thoroughly and back up your arguments with evidence. This will make your essay more professional and convincing. 

Need the services of a professional essay writing service ? We've got your back! is a persuasive essay writing service that provides help to students in the form of professionally written essays. Our persuasive essay writer can craft quality persuasive essays on any topic, including abortion. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should i talk about in an essay about abortion.

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When writing an essay about abortion, it is important to cover all the aspects of the subject. This includes discussing both sides of the argument, providing facts and evidence to support your claims, and exploring potential solutions.

What is a good argument for abortion?

A good argument for abortion could be that it is a woman’s choice to choose whether or not to have an abortion. It is also important to consider the potential risks of carrying a pregnancy to term.

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A High School Teen’s Powerful Graduation Speech About Abortion Rights Is Going Viral

By Christopher Rosa

A High School Teen's Powerful Graduation Speech About Abortion Rights Is Going Viral

Paxton Smith, the 2021 valedictorian of Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, gave an impassioned graduation speech about abortion rights that's going viral. 

For those unfamiliar with what's happening in Texas: The state's governor, Greg Abbott, just signed into law the “heartbeat bill,” which, per The Texas Tribune , bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when most women don't even realize they're expecting. 

Smith had originally planned to talk about television and media during her speech but instead used the platform to shed light on the “heartbeat bill.” 

“In light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state,” Smith said, per Vox . “Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. Six weeks. That’s all women get.”

According to Vox, the “heartbeat bill” not only bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy but allows people to sue anyone who “aids and abets” one of these illegal procedures. 

Smith's speech has exploded on TikTok, racking up more than 210,000 views. It was reposted to Twitter, where it's been viewed more than 2 million times. “In Texas, Lake Highlands High School valedictorian, Paxton Smith, switched out her approved speech to talk about abortion rights,” the tweet reads. 

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

According to Advocate magazine, a local Highlands publication, Smith's decision to change her speech on the fly was not supported by her school district. “The content of each student speaker’s message is the private, voluntary expression of the individual student and does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the District or its employees,” RISD school board president Karen Clardy said. “What the student did was unexpected and not supported by LHHS or RISD. We are going to review student speech protocols in advance of next year’s graduations to prevent something like this from happening again.”

That being said, Smith's father, Russell, fully supported her actions. “It was something that she felt was important, and she had the nerve, determination, and boldness to put herself out there and say her piece,” he said, according to Advocate . “So few people demonstrate this level of maturity and poise, regardless of age.”

Read her full speech, according to Advocate magazine, below: 

As we leave high school we need to make our voices heard. I was going to get up here and talk to you about TV and content and media because those are things that are very important to me. However, in light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state.

Recently the heartbeat bill was passed in Texas. Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions that take place after six weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. Six weeks. Most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant by then. And so, before they have the time to decide if they are emotionally, physically, and financially stable enough to carry out a full-term pregnancy, before they have the chance to decide if they can take on the responsibility of bringing another human into the world, the decision has been made for them by a stranger. A decision that will affect the rest of their lives.

I have dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Every girl here does. We have spent our whole lives working towards our futures, and without our consent or input, our control over our futures has been stripped away from us. I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I’m raped, then my hopes and efforts and dreams for myself will no longer be relevant. I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is, how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body taken from you.

And I’m talking about this today, on a day as important as this, on a day honoring the students’ efforts in 12 years of schooling, on a day where we’re all brought together, on a day where you will be the most inclined to hear a voice like mine, a woman’s voice, to tell you that this is a problem. A problem that can’t wait. I refuse to give up this platform to promote complacency and peace, when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights. A war on the rights of your sisters, a war on the rights of your mothers, a war on the rights of your daughters.

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high school essay on abortion

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Abortion Argumentative Essay: Definitive Guide

Academic writing

high school essay on abortion

Abortion remains a debatable issue even today, especially in countries like the USA, where a controversial ban was upheld in 13 states at the point this article was written. That’s why an essay on abortion has become one of the most popular tasks in schools, colleges, and universities. When writing this kind of essay, students learn to express their opinion, find and draw arguments and examples, and conduct research.

It’s very easy to speculate on topics like this. However, this makes it harder to find credible and peer-reviewed information on the topic that isn’t merely someone’s opinion. If you were assigned this kind of academic task, do not lose heart. In this article, we will provide you with all the tips and tricks for writing about abortion.

Where to begin?

Conversations about abortion are always emotional. Complex stories, difficult decisions, bitter moments, and terrible diagnoses make this topic hard to cover. Some young people may be shocked by this assignment, while others would be happy to express their opinion on the matter.

One way or another, this topic doesn't leave anyone indifferent. However, it shouldn’t have an effect on the way you approach the research and writing process. What should you remember when working on an argumentative essay about abortion?

  • Don’t let your emotions take over. As this is an academic paper, you have to stay impartial and operate with facts. The topic is indeed sore and burning, causing thousands of scandals on the Internet, but you are writing it for school, not a Quora thread.
  • Try to balance your opinions. There are always two sides to one story, even if the story is so fragile. You need to present an issue from different angles. This is what your tutors seek to teach you.
  • Be tolerant and mind your language. It is very important not to hurt anybody with the choice of words in your essay. So make sure you avoid any possible rough words. It is important to respect people with polar opinions, especially when it comes to academic writing. 
  • Use facts, not claims. Your essay cannot be based solely on your personal ideas – your conclusions should be derived from facts. Roe v. Wade case, WHO or Mayo Clinic information, and CDC are some of the sources you can rely on.

Arguments for and against abortion

Speaking of Outline

An argumentative essay on abortion outline is a must-have even for experienced writers. In general, each essay, irrespective of its kind or topic, has a strict outline. It may be brief or extended, but the major parts are always the same:

  • Introduction. This is a relatively short paragraph that starts with a hook and presents the background information on the topic. It should end with a thesis statement telling your reader what your main goal or idea is.
  • Body. This section usually consists of 2-4 paragraphs. Each one has its own structure: main argument + facts to support it + small conclusion and transition into the next paragraph.
  • Conclusion. In this part, your task is to summarize all your thoughts and come to a general conclusive idea. You may have to restate some info from the body and your thesis statement and add a couple of conclusive statements without introducing new facts.

Why is it important to create an outline?

  • You will structure your ideas. We bet you’ve got lots on your mind. Writing them down and seeing how one can flow logically into the other will help you create a consistent paper. Naturally, you will have to abandon some of the ideas if they don’t fit the overall narrative you’re building.
  • You can get some inspiration. While creating your outline, which usually consists of some brief ideas, you can come up with many more to research. Some will add to your current ones or replace them with better options.
  • You will find the most suitable sources. Argumentative essay writing requires you to use solid facts and trustworthy arguments built on them. When the topic is as controversial as abortion, these arguments should be taken from up-to-date, reliable sources. With an outline, you will see if you have enough to back up your ideas.
  • You will write your text as professionals do. Most expert writers start with outlines to write the text faster and make it generally better. As you will have your ideas structured, the general flow of thoughts will be clear. And, of course, it will influence your overall grade positively.


Abortion Essay Introduction

The introduction is perhaps the most important part of the whole essay. In this relatively small part, you will have to present the issue under consideration and state your opinion on it. Here is a typical introduction outline:

  • The first sentence is a hook grabbing readers' attention.
  • A few sentences that go after elaborate on the hook. They give your readers some background and explain your research.
  • The last sentence is a thesis statement showing the key idea you are building your text around.

Before writing an abortion essay intro, first thing first, you will need to define your position. If you are in favor of this procedure, what exactly made you think so? If you are an opponent of abortion, determine how to argue your position. In both cases, you may research the point of view in medicine, history, ethics, and other fields.

When writing an introduction, remember:

  • Never repeat your title. First of all, it looks too obvious; secondly, it may be boring for your reader right from the start. Your first sentence should be a well-crafted hook. The topic of abortion worries many people, so it’s your chance to catch your audience’s attention with some facts or shocking figures.
  • Do not make it too long. Your task here is to engage your audience and let them know what they are about to learn. The rest of the information will be disclosed in the main part. Nobody likes long introductions, so keep it short but informative.
  • Pay due attention to the thesis statement. This is the central sentence of your introduction. A thesis statement in your abortion intro paragraph should show that you have a well-supported position and are ready to argue it. Therefore, it has to be strong and convey your idea as clearly as possible. We advise you to make several options for the thesis statement and choose the strongest one.

Hooks for an Abortion Essay

Writing a hook is a good way to catch the attention of your audience, as this is usually the first sentence in an essay. How to start an essay about abortion? You can begin with some shocking fact, question, statistics, or even a quote. However, always make sure that this piece is taken from a trusted resource.

Here are some examples of hooks you can use in your paper:

  • As of July 1, 2022, 13 states banned abortion, depriving millions of women of control of their bodies.
  • According to WHO, 125,000 abortions take place every day worldwide.
  • Is abortion a woman’s right or a crime?
  • Since 1994, more than 40 countries have liberalized their abortion laws.
  • Around 48% of all abortions are unsafe, and 8% of them lead to women’s death.
  • The right to an abortion is one of the reproductive and basic rights of a woman.
  • Abortion is as old as the world itself – women have resorted to this method since ancient times.
  • Only 60% of women in the world live in countries where pregnancy termination is allowed.

Body Paragraphs: Pros and Cons of Abortion

The body is the biggest part of your paper. Here, you have a chance to make your voice concerning the abortion issue heard. Not sure where to start? Facts about abortion pros and cons should give you a basic understanding of which direction to move in.

First things first, let’s review some brief tips for you on how to write the best essay body if you have already made up your mind.

Make a draft

It’s always a good idea to have a rough draft of your writing. Follow the outline and don’t bother with the word choice, grammar, or sentence structure much at first. You can polish it all later, as the initial draft will not likely be your final. You may see some omissions in your arguments, lack of factual basis, or repetitiveness that can be eliminated in the next versions.

Trust only reliable sources

This part of an essay includes loads of factual information, and you should be very careful with it. Otherwise, your paper may look unprofessional and cost you precious points. Never rely on sources like Wikipedia or tabloids – they lack veracity and preciseness.

Edit rigorously

It’s best to do it the next day after you finish writing so that you can spot even the smallest mistakes. Remember, this is the most important part of your paper, so it has to be flawless. You can also use editing tools like Grammarly.

Determine your weak points

Since you are writing an argumentative essay, your ideas should be backed up by strong facts so that you sound convincing. Sometimes it happens that one argument looks weaker than the other. Your task is to find it and strengthen it with more or better facts.

Add an opposing view

Sometimes, it’s not enough to present only one side of the discussion. Showing one of the common views from the opposing side might actually help you strengthen your main idea. Besides, making an attempt at refuting it with alternative facts can show your teacher or professor that you’ve researched and analyzed all viewpoints, not just the one you stand by.

If you have chosen a side but are struggling to find the arguments for or against it, we have complied abortion pro and cons list for you. You can use both sets if you are writing an abortion summary essay covering all the stances.

Why Should Abortion Be Legal

If you stick to the opinion that abortion is just a medical procedure, which should be a basic health care need for each woman, you will definitely want to write the pros of abortion essay. Here is some important information and a list of pros about abortion for you to use:

  • Since the fetus is a set of cells – not an individual, it’s up to a pregnant woman to make a decision concerning her body. Only she can decide whether she wants to keep the pregnancy or have an abortion. The abortion ban is a violation of a woman’s right to have control over her own body.
  • The fact that women and girls do not have access to effective contraception and safe abortion services has serious consequences for their own health and the health of their families.
  • The criminalization of abortion usually leads to an increase in the number of clandestine abortions. Many years ago, fetuses were disposed of with improvised means, which included knitting needles and half-straightened metal hangers. 13% of women’s deaths are the result of unsafe abortions.
  • Many women live in a difficult financial situation and cannot support their children financially. Having access to safe abortion takes this burden off their shoulders. This will also not decrease their quality of life as the birth and childcare would.
  • In countries where abortion is prohibited, there is a phenomenon of abortion tourism to other countries where it can be done without obstacles. Giving access to this procedure can make the lives of women much easier.
  • Women should not put their lives or health in danger because of the laws that were adopted by other people.
  • Girls and women who do not have proper sex education may not understand pregnancy as a concept or determine that they are pregnant early on. Instead of educating them and giving them a choice, an abortion ban forces them to become mothers and expects them to be fit parents despite not knowing much about reproduction.
  • There are women who have genetic disorders or severe mental health issues that will affect their children if they're born. Giving them an option to terminate ensures that there won't be a child with a low quality of life and that the woman will not have to suffer through pregnancy, birth, and raising a child with her condition.
  • Being pro-choice is about the freedom to make decisions about your body so that women who are for termination can do it safely, and those who are against it can choose not to do it. It is an inclusive option that caters to everyone.
  • Women and girls who were raped or abused by their partner, caregiver, or stranger and chose to terminate the pregnancy can now be imprisoned for longer than their abusers. This implies that the system values the life of a fetus with no or primitive brain function over the life of a living woman.
  • People who lived in times when artificial termination of pregnancy was scarcely available remember clandestine abortions and how traumatic they were, not only for the physical but also for the mental health of women. Indeed, traditionally, in many countries, large families were a norm. However, the times have changed, and supervised abortion is a safe and accessible procedure these days. A ban on abortion will simply push humanity away from the achievements of the civilized world.


Types of abortion

There are 2 main types of abortions that can be performed at different pregnancy stages and for different reasons:

  • Medical abortion. It is performed by taking a specially prescribed pill. It does not require any special manipulations and can even be done at home (however, after a doctor’s visit and under supervision). It is considered very safe and is usually done during the very first weeks of pregnancy.
  • Surgical abortion. This is a medical operation that is done with the help of a suction tube. It then removes the fetus and any related material. Anesthesia is used for this procedure, and therefore, it can only be done in a hospital. The maximum time allowed for surgical abortion is determined in each country specifically.

Cases when abortion is needed

Center for Reproductive Rights singles out the following situations when abortion is required:

  • When there is a risk to the life or physical/mental health of a pregnant woman.
  • When a pregnant woman has social or economic reasons for it.
  • Upon the woman's request.
  • If a pregnant woman is mentally or cognitively disabled.
  • In case of rape and/or incest.
  • If there were congenital anomalies detected in the fetus.

Countries and their abortion laws

  • Countries where abortion is legalized in any case: Australia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, etc.
  • Countries where abortion is completely prohibited: Angola, Venezuela, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Oman, Paraguay, Palau, Jamaica, Laos, Haiti, Honduras, Andorra, Aruba, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Sierra Leone, Senegal, etc.
  • Countries where abortion is allowed for medical reasons: Afghanistan, Israel, Argentina, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ghana, Israel, Morocco, Mexico, Bahamas, Central African Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Algeria, Monaco, Pakistan, Poland, etc. 
  • Countries where abortion is allowed for both medical and socioeconomic reasons: England, India, Spain, Luxembourg, Japan, Finland, Taiwan, Zambia, Iceland, Fiji, Cyprus, Barbados, Belize, etc.

Why Abortion Should Be Banned

Essays against abortions are popular in educational institutions since we all know that many people – many minds. So if you don’t want to support this procedure in your essay, here are some facts that may help you to argument why abortion is wrong:

  • Abortion at an early age is especially dangerous because a young woman with an unstable hormonal system may no longer be able to have children throughout her life. Termination of pregnancy disrupts the hormonal development of the body.
  • Health complications caused by abortion can occur many years after the procedure. Even if a woman feels fine in the short run, the situation may change in the future.
  • Abortion clearly has a negative effect on reproductive function. Artificial dilation of the cervix during an abortion leads to weak uterus tonus, which can cause a miscarriage during the next pregnancy.
  • Evidence shows that surgical termination of pregnancy significantly increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • In December 1996, the session of the Council of Europe on bioethics concluded that a fetus is considered a human being on the 14th day after conception.

You are free to use each of these arguments for essays against abortions. Remember that each claim should not be supported by emotions but by facts, figures, and so on.

Health complications after abortion

One way or another, abortion is extremely stressful for a woman’s body. Apart from that, it can even lead to various health problems in the future. You can also cover them in your cons of an abortion essay:

  • Continuation of pregnancy. If the dose of the drug is calculated by the doctor in the wrong way, the pregnancy will progress.
  • Uterine bleeding, which requires immediate surgical intervention.
  • Severe nausea or even vomiting occurs as a result of a sharp change in the hormonal background.
  • Severe stomach pain. Medical abortion causes miscarriage and, as a result, strong contractions of the uterus.
  • High blood pressure and allergic reactions to medicines.
  • Depression or other mental problems after a difficult procedure.

Abortion Essay Conclusion

After you have finished working on the previous sections of your paper, you will have to end it with a strong conclusion. The last impression is no less important than the first one. Here is how you can make it perfect in your conclusion paragraph on abortion:

  • It should be concise. The conclusion cannot be as long as your essay body and should not add anything that cannot be derived from the main section. Reiterate the key ideas, combine some of them, and end the paragraph with something for the readers to think about.
  • It cannot repeat already stated information. Restate your thesis statement in completely other words and summarize your main points. Do not repeat anything word for word – rephrase and shorten the information instead.
  • It should include a call to action or a cliffhanger. Writing experts believe that a rhetorical question works really great for an argumentative essay. Another good strategy is to leave your readers with some curious ideas to ponder upon.

Abortion Facts for Essay

Abortion is a topic that concerns most modern women. Thousands of books, research papers, and articles on abortion are written across the world. Even though pregnancy termination has become much safer and less stigmatized with time, it still worries millions. What can you cover in your paper so that it can really stand out among others? You may want to add some shocking abortion statistics and facts:

  • 40-50 million abortions are done in the world every year (approximately 125,000 per day).
  • According to UN statistics, women have 25 million unsafe abortions each year. Most of them (97%) are performed in the countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. 14% of them are especially unsafe because they are done by people without any medical knowledge.
  • Since 2017, the United States has shown the highest abortion rate in the last 30 years.
  • The biggest number of abortion procedures happen in the countries where they are officially banned. The lowest rate is demonstrated in the countries with high income and free access to contraception.
  • Women in low-income regions are three times more susceptible to unplanned pregnancies than those in developed countries.
  • In Argentina, more than 38,000 women face dreadful health consequences after unsafe abortions.
  • The highest teen abortion rates in the world are seen in 3 countries: England, Wales, and Sweden.
  • Only 31% of teenagers decide to terminate their pregnancy. However, the rate of early pregnancies is getting lower each year.
  • Approximately 13 million children are born to mothers under the age of 20 each year.
  • 5% of women of reproductive age live in countries where abortions are prohibited.

We hope that this abortion information was useful for you, and you can use some of these facts for your own argumentative essay. If you find some additional facts, make sure that they are not manipulative and are taken from official medical resources.


Abortion Essay Topics

Do you feel like you are lost in the abundance of information? Don’t know what topic to choose among the thousands available online? Check our short list of the best abortion argumentative essay topics:

  • Why should abortion be legalized essay
  • Abortion: a murder or a basic human right?
  • Why we should all support abortion rights
  • Is the abortion ban in the US a good initiative?
  • The moral aspect of teen abortions
  • Can the abortion ban solve birth control problems?
  • Should all countries allow abortion?
  • What consequences can abortion have in the long run?
  • Is denying abortion sexist?
  • Why is abortion a human right?
  • Are there any ethical implications of abortion?
  • Do you consider abortion a crime?
  • Should women face charges for terminating a pregnancy?

Want to come up with your own? Here is how to create good titles for abortion essays:

  • Write down the first associations. It can be something that swirls around in your head and comes to the surface when you think about the topic. These won’t necessarily be well-written headlines, but each word or phrase can be the first link in the chain of ideas that leads you to the best option.
  • Irony and puns are not always a good idea. Especially when it comes to such difficult topics as abortion. Therefore, in your efforts to be original, remain sensitive to the issue you want to discuss.
  • Never make a quote as your headline. First, a wordy quote makes the headline long. Secondly, readers do not understand whose words are given in the headline. Therefore, it may confuse them right from the start. If you have found a great quote, you can use it as your hook, but don’t forget to mention its author.
  • Try to briefly summarize what is said in the essay. What is the focus of your paper? If the essence of your argumentative essay can be reduced to one sentence, it can be used as a title, paraphrased, or shortened.
  • Write your title after you have finished your text. Before you just start writing, you might not yet have a catchy phrase in mind to use as a title. Don’t let it keep you from working on your essay – it might come along as you write.

Abortion Essay Example

We know that it is always easier to learn from a good example. For this reason, our writing experts have complied a detailed abortion essay outline for you. For your convenience, we have created two options with different opinions.

Topic: Why should abortion be legal?

Introduction – hook + thesis statement + short background information

Essay hook: More than 59% of women in the world do not have access to safe abortions, which leads to dreading health consequences or even death.

Thesis statement: Since banning abortions does not decrease their rates but only makes them unsafe, it is not logical to ban abortions.

Body – each paragraph should be devoted to one argument

Argument 1: Woman’s body – women’s rules. + example: basic human rights.

Argument 2: Banning abortion will only lead to more women’s death. + example: cases of Polish women.

Argument 3: Only women should decide on abortion. + example: many abortion laws are made by male politicians who lack knowledge and first-hand experience in pregnancies.

Conclusion – restated thesis statement + generalized conclusive statements + cliffhanger

Restated thesis: The abortion ban makes pregnancy terminations unsafe without decreasing the number of abortions, making it dangerous for women.

Cliffhanger: After all, who are we to decide a woman’s fate?

Topic: Why should abortion be banned?

Essay hook: Each year, over 40 million new babies are never born because their mothers decide to have an abortion.

Thesis statement: Abortions on request should be banned because we cannot decide for the baby whether it should live or die.

Argument 1: A fetus is considered a person almost as soon as it is conceived. Killing it should be regarded as murder. + example: Abortion bans in countries such as Poland, Egypt, etc.

Argument 2: Interrupting a baby’s life is morally wrong. + example: The Bible, the session of the Council of Europe on bioethics decision in 1996, etc.

Argument 3: Abortion may put the reproductive health of a woman at risk. + example: negative consequences of abortion.

Restated thesis: Women should not be allowed to have abortions without serious reason because a baby’s life is as priceless as their own.

Cliffhanger: Why is killing an adult considered a crime while killing an unborn baby is not?

Argumentative essay on pros and cons of abortion

Examples of Essays on Abortion

There are many great abortion essays examples on the Web. You can easily find an argumentative essay on abortion in pdf and save it as an example. Many students and scholars upload their pieces to specialized websites so that others can read them and continue the discussion in their own texts.

In a free argumentative essay on abortion, you can look at the structure of the paper, choice of the arguments, depth of research, and so on. Reading scientific papers on abortion or essays of famous activists is also a good idea. Here are the works of famous authors discussing abortion.

A Defense of Abortion by Judith Jarvis Thomson

Published in 1971, this essay by an American philosopher considers the moral permissibility of abortion. It is considered the most debated and famous essay on this topic, and it’s definitely worth reading no matter what your stance is.

Abortion and Infanticide by Michael Tooley

It was written in 1972 by an American philosopher known for his work in the field of metaphysics. In this essay, the author considers whether fetuses and infants have the same rights. Even though this work is quite complex, it presents some really interesting ideas on the matter.

Some Biological Insights into Abortion by Garret Hardin

This article by American ecologist Garret Hardin, who had focused on the issue of overpopulation during his scholarly activities, presents some insights into abortion from a scientific point of view. He also touches on non-biological issues, such as moral and economic. This essay will be of great interest to those who support the pro-choice stance.

H4 Hidden in Plain View: An Overview of Abortion in Rural Illinois and Around the Globe by Heather McIlvaine-Newsad 

In this study, McIlvaine-Newsad has researched the phenomenon of abortion since prehistoric times. She also finds an obvious link between the rate of abortions and the specifics of each individual country. Overall, this scientific work published in 2014 is extremely interesting and useful for those who want to base their essay on factual information.

H4 Reproduction, Politics, and John Irving’s The Cider House Rules: Women’s Rights or “Fetal Rights”? by Helena Wahlström

In her article of 2013, Wahlström considers John Irving’s novel The Cider House Rules published in 1985 and is regarded as a revolutionary work for that time, as it acknowledges abortion mostly as a political problem. This article will be a great option for those who want to investigate the roots of the abortion debate.


FAQs On Abortion Argumentative Essay

  • Is abortion immoral?

This question is impossible to answer correctly because each person independently determines their own moral framework. One group of people will say that abortion is a woman’s right because only she has power over her body and can make decisions about it. Another group will argue that the embryo is also a person and has the right to birth and life.

In general, the attitude towards abortion is determined based on the political and religious views of each person. Religious people generally believe that abortion is immoral because it is murder, while secular people see it as a normal medical procedure. For example, in the US, the ban on abortion was introduced in red states where the vast majority have conservative views, while blue liberal states do not support this law. Overall, it’s up to a person to decide whether they consider abortion immoral based on their own values and beliefs.

  • Is abortion legal?

The answer to this question depends on the country in which you live. There are countries in which pregnancy termination is a common medical procedure and is performed at the woman's request. There are also states in which there must be a serious reason for abortion: medical, social, or economic. Finally, there are nations in which abortion is prohibited and criminalized. For example, in Jamaica, a woman can get life imprisonment for abortion, while in Kenya, a medical worker who volunteers to perform an abortion can be imprisoned for up to 14 years.

  • Is abortion safe?

In general, modern medicine has reached such a level that abortion has become a common (albeit difficult from various points of view) medical procedure. There are several types of abortion, as well as many medical devices and means that ensure the maximum safety of the pregnancy termination. Like all other medical procedures, abortion can have various consequences and complications.

Abortions – whether safe or not - exist in all countries of the world. The thing is that more than half of them are dangerous because women have them in unsuitable conditions and without professional help. Only universal access to abortion in all parts of the world can make it absolutely safe. In such a case, it will be performed only after a thorough assessment and under the control of a medical professional who can mitigate the potential risks.

  • How safe is abortion?

If we do not talk about the ethical side of the issue related to abortion, it still has some risks. In fact, any medical procedure has them to a greater or lesser extent.

The effectiveness of the safe method in a medical setting is 80-99%. An illegal abortion (for example, the one without special indications after 12 weeks) can lead to a patient’s death, and the person who performed it will be criminally liable in this case.

Doctors do not have universal advice for all pregnant women on whether it is worth making this decision or not. However, many of them still tend to believe that any contraception - even one that may have negative side effects - is better than abortion. That’s why spreading awareness on means of contraception and free access to it is vital.

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Essay on Abortion in English in 650 Words

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Essay on abortion

Essay on Abortion: Abortion is the termination of pregnancy. The termination happens due to the removal of the embryo or fetus. 

The process of abortion can be natural as well as intentional. The intentional forces abortion involves a decision to end the pregnancy while when this process unfolds naturally without any external forces such as genetic abnormalities, maternal age, hormonal imbalances, or lifestyle, it is termed as miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. It is important to understand the difference between intentional abortion and miscarriage to explore reproductive health. 

Master the art of essay writing with our blog on How to Write an Essay in English .

This Blog Includes:

Types of abortion, law in india for abortion, 1. comprehensive sex education , 2. access to contraceptives, 3. support system for pregnant women .

Also Read: 3-Minute Speech on Motherhood and Education

Abortion procedures can be classified into two main types, Medical abortion and Surgical abortion. Medical abortion involves the termination of pregnancy using medications, such as the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol. This medication method is generally effective within nine weeks of pregnancy and does not involve any penetration or incision of the body or the insertion of instruments into the body. 

On the other hand, surgical abortion involves a physical procedure to remove the pregnancy. The common surgical abortion method includes aspiration (suction) abortion, dilation and curettage (D&C), and dilation and evacuation (D&E) also called vacuum aspiration.

Laws of abortion play a vital role in the complexities of reproductive health. These laws aim to safeguard the well-being of women by ensuring that the abortion procedures are conducted under safe and medically supervised conditions.

In India, the legal framework for governing abortion primarily comes under the guidance of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. The act was enacted in the year 1971 and aimed to liberalize the voluntary absorption largely decriminalized Section 312 of the IPC. To have safe and legal abortion services in India The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Regulations,2003 were issued under the MTP Act. 

Further in the year 2021, certain amendments were passed for safe abortion services in case of failures of contraceptive failures, increase in gestation limit to 24 weeks, and the opinion of one abortion service provider up to 20 weeks of gestation. Moreover, the amendment also supported abortion until 24 weeks of pregnancy. The amendment acknowledges 7 specific circumstances to the MTP Act where a female can go for an abortion and those include Minor pregnancies, rape survivors, women with mental and physical disabilities, and more. 

Alternative and Support of Abortion

Some alternative measures that will help to raise awareness about abortion are as follows:

The physical experience of abortion for women can be hazardous too, therefore, to provide an alternative it is necessary that comprehensive sex education should be provided in schools beyond subjects like Biology, healthy relationships, consent, and making responsible choices. Through this knowledge, students will not only be equipped with information but will also navigate relationships and avoid unintended pregnancies.

Easy access to contraceptives is another way to empower women to take charge of their reproductive health. Whether it is condoms, birth control pills, or any other methods of protection ensures to make responsible decisions and help in taking precautions against unplanned pregnancies.

To support women with unwanted pregnancies it is important to create a supportive environment for them mentally as well as emotionally. The government can offer counselling services, and access to healthcare information, and can provide resources to help pregnant women make informed choices or decisions about their future for example parenting classes, legal guidance and financial assistance programs. 

In conclusion, we can say that the topic of abortion is complex as well as deep with emotions as well as with different perspectives. The ethical, religious, and legal debate on this sophisticated topic makes it challenging to find a common ground. Therefore it is necessary to have open and respectful communication, understanding empathy and healthcare options for the women. 

Also Read: National Safe Motherhood Day 2023

Ans. 1 Abortion is the termination of pregnancy. The termination happens due to the removal of the embryo or fetus. 

Ans. 2 As she was going through many health issues the family decided to go for an abortion. 

The causes of abortion in the first trimester can be emotional or psychological, maternal health concerns, unintended pregnancies, contraceptive failure and more.  

Ans. 4 The opposite of abortion is success, continuation, accomplishment, and achievement.

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The us states prohibiting the discussion of abortion in high schools.

Amanda Arnold

Read more: What Women Do When They Can't Afford an Abortion
California is one of only three states that poses abortion as a possible option one could choose after becoming pregnant.
Read more: My Life as an Abortion Provider in an Age of Terror
I've never, ever regretted it. Teens need to know they have a choice.


Mississippi, south carolina.

Read more: A State-by-State List of the Lies Abortion Doctors Are Forced to Tell Women
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Pro choice protesters gather outside the Supreme Court

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The public health case for abortion rights

Joanne rosen from the johns hopkins center for law and the public's health discusses dobbs v. jackson women's health organization, which heads to the supreme court dec. 1.

By Annalies Winny, Alissa Zhu, and Lindsay Smith Rogers

This article is adapted from a special episode of the Public Health On Call podcast called Public Health in the Field. Hear the full episode online .

Editor's note: The terms "woman" and "women" are used throughout this article because that is how the CDC and other sources record related data.

A potentially landmark battle is in play over abortion rights, and it's headed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 1.

In 2018, the Mississippi legislature passed and the governor signed House Bill 1510, known as the Gestational Age Act, which bans abortions after 15 weeks. There are exceptions if the life of the fetus or parent is at risk—but not in cases of rape or incest. The law violated Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide and protects the right to abortion prior to "viability" of the fetus, which is at around 24 weeks. House Bill 1510 was quickly blocked by lower federal courts but now the law's fate is up to the Supreme Court.

The outcome of this case—Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization—has implications for abortion rights far beyond Mississippi: A decision that previability bans are not unconstitutional could upend longstanding protections established by Roe v. Wade.

The conversation about abortion rights in the U.S. is a noisy one involving politics, precedents, and personal beliefs. What often gets short shrift, however, is the public health reality that restricting access to abortion frequently results in erosion of the health of women, especially low-income women and women of color. This is why abortion is so much more than a legal battle.

According to The Turnaway Study , a 10-year study that followed nearly 1,000 women who either had or were denied abortions, any women who were denied wanted abortions had higher levels of household poverty, debt, evictions, and other economic hardships and instabilities, says Joanne Rosen , associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Law and the Public's Health.

"The study also found that women who were seeking but unable to obtain abortions endured higher levels of physical violence from the men who had fathered these children," Rosen says. "And people who were turned away when seeking abortions endured more health problems than women who were able to obtain [them], as well as more serious health problems. That gives you a sense of the ways in which being unable to obtain abortions had really long lasting impacts on these peoples' lives."

A 2020 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that women living in states with less restrictive reproductive health policies were less likely to give birth to low-weight babies. Other research published in The Lancet found that restrictive abortion laws actually mean a higher rate of abortion-related maternal deaths.

Restrictive abortion laws affect more than just the health of individuals and families—they affect the economy, too. Research from The Lancet found that "ensuring women's access to safe abortion services does lower medical costs for health systems."

The Institute for Women's Policy Research has a host of data around how reproductive health restrictions impact women's earning potential, including an interactive map tool, Total Economic Losses Due to State-level Abortion Restrictions. In Mississippi, for example, the data indicate that removing restrictions to abortion would translate to a 1.8% increase of Black women in the labor force, over 2% for Hispanic women, and a leap of more than 2.6% for women who identify as Asian-Pacific Islander. This same tool calculates that removing restrictions on abortion access would translate to an estimated $13.4 million in increased earnings at the state level for Black women alone.

Abortion restrictions disproportionately affect people of color and those with low-incomes. According to data from the CDC, Black women are five times more likely to have an abortion than white women, and Latinx women are two times as likely as whites. Seventy-five percent of people who have abortions are low-income or poor.

Mississippi, Texas, and the Supreme Court

On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and Rosen thinks it's unlikely the court would agree to hear the case if they were just going to affirm the status quo.

The case isn't the only one on the docket, however. Texas' Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, made headlines earlier this month and may impact the court's ultimate decision on the Mississippi case. The high-profile law came before the Supreme Court in November 2021 and Rosen said the important thing to note is that the justices didn't actually address whether the six-week ban is constitutional. Rather, they examined the unusual enforcement scheme of the law—where, when, and by whom the Texas law could be challenged.

Rosen says that the justices may compare the Texas law with the Mississippi law and, when considering a six-week abortion ban, a 15-week ban may seem less extreme. In this way, the Texas case could give the court some cover to uphold Mississippi's 15-week ban.

It's likely to be months before an opinion is released; Rosen says the court typically releases its decisions on high-stakes or controversial cases in June. And high stakes this is: for the future of abortion, for reproductive health rights, and for public health.

Posted in Health , Politics+Society

Tagged supreme court , reproductive health , abortion

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Getting an Abortion as a Young Teenager

Four readers recall their experiences facing an unwanted pregnancy at a very early age. Our first reader was younger and in more desperate circumstances than most:

At 15 years old, I was living on the streets of Northern California. I got pregnant by my 39-year-old boyfriend. He said he was sterile, so he didn’t believe it was his, and he berated me. I was in no way capable of raising a child. I was living on the streets, had no income, was taking drugs, and was not at all responsible. I went to Planned Parenthood, where they told me of my options—adoption, keeping the baby, or abortion. I could not keep the child and would not abandon the child to be brought up by someone else. The procedure was over quickly. I sat outside at the bus stop in the cold, feeling sick, and cried. I felt so horrible and guilty that I had allowed myself to get pregnant. I respect all life, even that of an insect, so it was a very hard thing for me to do. I am in my 50s now and do not regret it a bit. It was the right choice and I am so happy that I HAD a choice. I now realize that I had been manipulated by a pedophile, but thankfully I was not forced to have his child.

This reader also had a really tough upbringing:

I stumbled across your compelling series —vast in how readers view abortion and why—and it brought up some long-since buried emotions. My story is similar but not so similar at the same time.   When I was 14 years old, my mother became addicted to drugs and would leave my two siblings and me home alone for days to weeks. I don’t think too many people in our family were aware of how frequently the three of us were left alone and we never reached out to any of them to let them know, probably because of a combination of shame and embarrassment.
This went on for almost six months, unnoticed by most, until I finally confided in one cousin, who of course immediately told her mother (my mom’s older sister). I can still remember the day my aunt came to the house to confront my mom and tell her she was there to remove my siblings and me. The three of us were all scattered between different relatives and friends while my mom sank deeper into addiction, even becoming homeless herself for quite some time.   I was 16 when I became pregnant for the first time. I had dropped out of high school and was living from pillar to post wherever I could. The aunt who had rescued me had long since put me out because she couldn’t deal with the emotional wreck of the wild child I was at the time.   Despite my circumstances and the father’s vehement objections, I kept the baby. There I was, a pregnant 16-year-old dropout on public assistance, living with friends but had to be responsible for another life. I wanted to be the best mother I could, and being pregnant jump-started my wanting to get my own life together.   I went back to school to get my high school diploma, but only three or four months after going back, I discovered that my prescription birth control pills had failed and I was pregnant again, just shy of 18 years old. I was just starting to get my life on track for the sake of my first born, still estranged from my parents and other family members, and on public assistance.   As hard of a decision as it was to make, I decided to terminate the pregnancy. Only one person, the baby’s father, knew that I was getting an abortion, but I know it was the best choice for all involved. It was a last-resort decision because I already had a baby. I knew how in love I would be with this new baby I couldn’t afford, so the moment I heard the heart beating for the first time and felt the baby kick, I knew adoption was out.   This is the very first time I have spoken of this abortion to anyone other than medical personnel, but I felt it was important to share the many many reasons why women choose to have an abortion.  It is never an easy decision or as black and white as some would have people believe. I am not ashamed of having an abortion, but my story involves others who may not want to be identified, so if you use my story, please publish it anonymously.

Another reader, in contrast, deeply regretted her abortion:

I got pregnant at 15 years old with my first ever boyfriend, the man I lost my virginity to. (We have a five-year-old son today and are still together and engaged 16 years later .) Having the abortion was the worst decision of our lives and haunts us till this day. I was so scared of my dad—that’s it, that’s the only reason I did it! I don’t even know how far along I was. I was not showing, though. My older sister took me to a doctor at a very famous Los Angeles hospital, where all the stars go. I didn’t want to do it, but did it anyway. I was young and miseducated. The doctor didn’t even speak with me or get any info. She was a OB where my sister worked and did a “favor.” It’s sad that this is even a option. I think abortion should be banned. I know that this will never happen, but I just hope there is no girl or woman who feels like we do. Had abortion been banned, I would have a 15-year-old child now.

One more reader:

I was lost in the middle of a messy family that was falling apart at the seams. When I could no longer endure the constant screams that plagued our home, I turned to my boyfriend, who I thought was my knight in shining armour. It was August 1999, I was 17, and in that time I didn’t realize that he was just a different version of chaos. We had momentarily broken up and were just getting back together, so I was happy and feeling safe from my family.   I still recall the exact moment it happened: He didn’t withdraw, and I knew it was intentional. When I asked why, he responded that I was his and I needed to learn that lesson. So there was no shock when my period didn’t arrive. And I had no hesitation in my choice. I could not, and would not, bring a child into this screwed-up life of mine. I started making phone calls, and I was quickly informed in Missouri I would need parental consent.  Thankfully someone told me that I could cross the state line into Illinois to obtain the abortion without parental consent. We gathered up the money—no small feat for us—obtained a money order, and drove over for the appointment. My first memory of the place are these wonderful volunteers who  shielded us from the angry protesters as we walked inside. After an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy, I spent a lengthy amount of time with the counselor, who probed to make sure I was making this choice myself. It was the opposite of pushing an abortion on me; she encouraged me to not go through with the procedure if I had any doubts.   I had the abortion and didn’t look back. I started making changes, and within two years I managed to extract myself. I moved away, went to college, got married, had a beautiful son on my own terms, went to grad school, and I’ve made this life into what I wanted. I wish everyone had that ability—to be in charge of their own life and destiny. To me there is no greater freedom than being able to choose your own future. Thank you for doing this and posting these stories.

More to come.

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My experience trying to get an abortion before Roe v. Wade existed

In 1969, I was an 18-year-old high school student living in Missouri, with a seemingly endless number of possibilities at my fingertips. Considered the model, straight-A student, I was also a member of multiple varsity sports teams.

I was, as people often say, on the "straight and narrow" path, barreling toward the success that was expected of an upper class, affluent young white woman with a private education.

Then, the summer before my senior year of high school, I found out I was pregnant.

In my home state of Missouri, abortion was illegal.

For the first time in my privileged life, I felt helpless.

A photo of Anne Taussig in 1969.

There is a very specific type of terror that permeates your body when you no longer have control over the direction your life is headed.

I cannot recall the specific details of traveling to a doctor's office to confirm my pregnancy, or going through the motions of taking an in-office pregnancy test, although I must have.

But now, 53 years later and at the age of 71, I can say that what followed is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.

I'll never forget where I was standing when I was on the phone, silently hoping the doctor on the other line would tell me that I was not, in fact, pregnant. There's always the possibility of a false positive. Perhaps my period was just late. Maybe, just maybe, I was wrong.

Related: A Polish woman is on trial for helping someone get an abortion. Here’s why it matters

I'll never forget the doctor telling me, "The test came back positive. You are pregnant." Or how I was stunned into silence, staring out a nearby window as the hair on the back of my neck stood on end.

I will always remember the doctor coldly and callously responding, "Well, what did you expect?"

He offered me no compassion. He gave me zero advice.

I don't have many moments in my life that I can recall that vividly, or word-for-word. But I remember it all, and can still feel the terror of that moment.

I didn't want to sidestep the path I had created for myself. I was about to go to college at Wellesley after graduation.

I wanted the life I had been dreaming of.

I knew my father could help.

He had connections and began making phone calls to the whisper networks created for the sole purpose of helping women obtain an abortion. I hoped now, in some way, they would help me.

In a matter of days, my father was able to arrange for me to obtain an abortion in New York, where the procedure was legal.

I would have to travel over 1,000 miles to obtain an abortion.

Then, as if my body decided to spare me the time, travel and trauma, I miscarried.

Related: These moms had abortions. Here’s how they feel about the leaked Roe v. Wade opinion

Before my unwanted pregnancy, I lived a worry-free life and was afforded every opportunity. I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and a proverbial "get out of jail free" card.

But when I was faced with the possibility of being forced into motherhood, I realized the privilege afforded to me was not afforded to everyone. I learned that women were dying from illegal abortion procedures.

I started learning about abortion rights and reproductive justice. I graduated from college and became politically active, traveling to Washington D.C., to protest the war in Vietnam and to fight for voting rights and to advocate for unfettered access to reproductive health care.

Taussig pictured during one of many political rallies she has attended. At age 71, she says she's still fighting for people's right to access abortion care.

I followed the creative path I had always wanted to experience and became an artist, turning my passions into creative work and a business. Every choice I've made since that unwanted pregnancy has been totally mine to make. Nothing blocked my path.

I was free to later meet my husband, and choose when to get married. And when I was ready, I was able to choose when I wanted to become a mother.

I now have three children and one grandchild.

I researched members of my own family, including my husband's grandmother, who died of an illegal abortion. She was already a mom when she lost her life.

Related: What is an abortion fund? How people are accessing care despite legal restrictions

My husband's mother was an orphan because her mom could not have a safe, legal abortion. He told me the trauma of his grandmother's death impacted his family for generations to come.

I also learned about the life and legacy of my own grandfather, Frederick Joseph Taussig, who was an OB-GYN in the 1930s. He ended up writing two books on abortion, one titled, "Abortion, Spontaneous and Induced."

My grandfather devoted his career to reproductive justice and women's health. He died in 1943, long before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 and years before I was born.

A picture of one of the books Anne's grandfather wrote on abortion care.

When he was a practicing physician, he kept a sign posted in his surgical room.


As told to Danielle Campoamor. This interview has been edited and condensed.

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A Texas Teen-Ager’s Abortion Odyssey

By Stephania Taladrid

From left to right a car driving past a sign a woman sitting and a hand holding 5 pills.

Last summer, shortly after a date to Six Flags Over Texas, a thirteen-year-old girl in Dallas was falling in love for the first time. Her father could see it in the pencil drawings she made before bed. Instead of the usual, precise studies of koi fish and wildflowers, she’d sketched herself holding the hand of a boy in a Yankees cap, and enclosed the image in a pink-and-red heart. In the fall, the girl’s father permitted her to meet the boy, a tenth grader, after school one day a week. This spring, when he learned that his daughter was pregnant, he concluded that one day a week had been too many.

Within a day, his daughter, whom I’ll call Laura, came around to the idea that getting an abortion, soon, might be the best option. This required scheduling an appointment with a doctor who could prescribe her one pill to block progesterone and stop the growth of the fetus, and four other pills to prompt contractions. Her father, who worked in a factory painting locomotives on a 4  A.M. -to-2:30  P.M. shift, decided to use his next day off to take her to a doctor to get the medication. The question was: where? Last September, Senate Bill 8—also known as S.B. 8, or the Texas Heartbeat Act—went into effect across the state and sped up the timeline for enacting such a choice. The new law makes it illegal for women to obtain an abortion past the sixth week of gestation, or even before the sixth week, should electrical activity in fetal cells be detected by ultrasound. No exceptions are made for pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or for those of very young teen-agers.

The father’s girlfriend, who is close to Laura and controlled the household supply of sanitary pads, deduced that the girl had missed only one period. That meant Laura might just beat the six-week cutoff, so the girlfriend hastened to call local clinics. A few hours later, though, she and the father were confronting a fact faced by many other Texas families since the passage of S.B. 8. “Everything is booked out for a month’s time, if you can even get someone on the phone,” the girlfriend said. In the nine months since the law was implemented, the number of abortions performed in Texas has fallen by half, according to the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, at the University of Texas. Meanwhile, thousands of women and girls who want to end their pregnancies have been compelled to seek care in other states.

For Laura’s family, the nearest option was Oklahoma, but none of the clinics that the girlfriend called had appointments available. In Arkansas, the wait to see a doctor would be weeks—a delay that the father thought would be hard on Laura, an eighth grader who sometimes spoke of feeling isolated and depressed. “I’m not putting her through that,” the father told his girlfriend. Finally, seven calls later, the girlfriend reached a clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, whose doctor could see Laura that weekend. It was a decent place, the girlfriend could report with confidence; she’d taken a pregnant relative there the month before. There were two catches, though. The clinic was seven hundred miles away, and the cost was, for the family, exorbitant.

Under Texas law, insurers are forbidden to cover abortions unless the woman’s life is at risk. At the New Mexico clinic, the appointment to get a sonogram and obtain the five abortion pills would cost the family seven hundred dollars. And, because the trip was so long—ten or eleven hours by car—they would also have to leave a day early and pay for somewhere to spend the night. The previous month, the father had ransacked his savings to make a five-thousand-dollar down payment on a three-bedroom house—a step up from the decrepit rental where the family had lived for five years. After renting a U-Haul truck for the move, paying utility deposits, and buying pots, pans, and a toaster, all he had left was fifteen hundred dollars—his emergency stash, “something to fall back on,” he said. He felt sick at the thought that he’d now be using that stash to secure a legal abortion for Laura in New Mexico.

The father understood intimately what teen-age parenthood entailed. Laura was born when he was a high-school sophomore. She was, as he always told her, a wanted child. But, after his relationship with Laura’s mother imploded and he found himself raising their daughter and, later, two younger girls, it had taken him a decade, and at times three jobs, to get his family off public assistance. If Laura had a baby, they might find themselves slipping back into the food-stamp life they’d left behind. More than that, though, the pregnancy threatened a particular dream he had for Laura: that she would press through this hard phase of her adolescence childless, and enjoy some of the fun, silliness, and high-school dance parties that he had missed.

One in four girls and women in the United States will, at some point in her life, seek an abortion. Yet, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which, in 1973, established a woman’s constitutional right to the procedure, the long journeys to oversubscribed clinics that have become a fact of life in Texas will almost certainly become the norm throughout much of the country. Post-Roe, legal authority will devolve to the states, thirteen of which have in place “trigger laws” that would ban all, or nearly all, abortions. Ultimately, according to the Guttmacher Institute, twenty-six states are likely to outlaw the procedure. Some pregnant people in the U.S. who will be stripped of the right to legal abortion will go on to have illegal procedures. Others will be forced into motherhood. And millions of families will find themselves grappling with the same calculations that Laura’s family was encountering this spring: How far are we able to go, financially and emotionally, to terminate a pregnancy? And, when it’s all done and paid for, how much farther down the socioeconomic ladder will we be?

By necessity, the trip to get Laura an abortion would be a family affair. The father’s girlfriend would come along to be with Laura when she saw the doctor, and Laura’s sisters would also be joining them, the family budget being too tight to cover two days of babysitting. The father told the younger girls, in lieu of an explanation, “This is a top-secret mission.” He hoped they might never learn that Laura had been pregnant. But, in a time of regrets about his parenting judgments, taking his eldest girl out of state to have the abortion would not be one of them. “There’s always a crowd of people outside protesting,” he said, of Texas clinics. “They’ve got baby-fetus signs and are yelling, ‘In the name of the Father!’ They’re coming to your car window as you’re driving in.” Even if Laura had been able to get an appointment for an abortion within the time frame demanded by S.B. 8, he couldn’t stand the thought of subjecting her to the shame and stigma associated with the procedure in his home state.

Instead, one gusty Friday afternoon in April, he, his girlfriend, and the three girls climbed into a blue Chevrolet van and headed west. The middle sister, who was eight, brought along persistent questions—Is Laura sick? And, if she is sick, why does she have to go so far away to see a doctor? The four-year-old brought along her stuffed unicorn, Chelsea. For the journey, she had put on bright-pink sneakers, and they lit up every time she tapped her feet.

The small, unincorporated community of Santa Teresa sits on the southern edge of New Mexico, a short drive from downtown El Paso. A developer established the town in the nineteen-seventies, envisioning a binational planned community of industrial parks, country clubs, and luxurious homes—a dream that, by the nineties, had failed. Today, as its golf courses turn to rubble and the tennis courts grow hairy with weeds, the new draw in town is a clinic tucked away in a drab strip mall near the Rio Grande, where girls and women can end their pregnancies legally.

Women’s Reproductive Clinic, which is poised, post-Roe, to be among the last remaining abortion providers in the Southwest, is situated alongside insurance businesses, fast-food joints, and a cannabis store. Last year, it averaged a hundred and fifty-four abortion patients a month. This spring, thanks to Texas’s new restrictions, the number of monthly patients is nearing three hundred. Occasionally, picketers in front of the clinic try to intercept arriving patients and usher them into a large turquoise van, where free sonograms are performed and anti-abortion literature is shared. But on most days a sense of stillness pervades the outside of the clinic, in part because of Juan Carlos, a spry, silver-haired security guard whose gaze alone is said to dissuade those who may be primed for a fight. The greater tension, since the passage of S.B. 8, lies on the other side of the tinted-glass doors, in the waiting room.

In late April, when I visited the clinic, a receptionist named Elizabeth Hernández sat at a desk heaped with patient records and bills, greeting women and answering calls. Lately, she said, some of the callers are panicked as they schedule appointments, asking, “Am I going to get arrested? Are they going to follow me from the clinic afterwards?” A provision in S.B. 8 allows any private citizen to sue those who “aid or abet” a woman seeking an abortion in Texas past the six-week mark, whether the abettors are Lyft drivers or relatives who lend money for the procedure. Hernández, who is thirty-five, feels the ambient anxiety surrounding S.B. 8 even when she goes home, where her children have started worrying that she’ll be attacked on the job.

Her friend and fellow-receptionist Rocío Negrete has been working at the clinic for seven years. Until S.B. 8, she never saw patients from East Texas or Central Texas. But a stack of folders she was examining one afternoon showed how far women would be travelling to receive the abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, the following day. They were coming for these “medication abortions” from Lubbock, Houston, Odessa, Oklahoma City. Lots of women were coming from Oklahoma and Louisiana this year, because Texan women had taken so many open slots at abortion clinics in their own states. In the coming months, the influx from Oklahoma will likely surge, given that its governor, Kevin Stitt, just signed a bill prohibiting abortion from the moment of fertilization, the most extreme restriction in the country.

If both running a clinic and getting an appointment at one feel fraught these days, early abortion remains, medically speaking, a simple procedure. A woman who comes to the clinic in Santa Teresa will, like women who visit many other clinics in the U.S., receive a counselling session, a sonogram to confirm how far along she is in the pregnancy, and the five pills, all but one to be ingested elsewhere, that will end it. But, as the conversation around abortion grows more punitive, and as states continue to roll back women’s rights, distressed patients sometimes take their feelings out on clinic workers. “They talk to us like we’re the ones that made them be in this situation,” Hernández said. And yet she is sympathetic, because she considers all the new obstacles to having a straightforward procedure to be a form of psychological warfare. “People barely get the courage to actually go forth with it,” she said. “They’re just trying to break you down, further and further, until you’re finally, like, ‘You know what? Never mind.’ ”

One morning, a thirty-two-year-old bartender from Houston lay supine on a table in the clinic’s windowless sonogram room, ultrasound jelly smeared across her flat stomach. She was determined not to say “Never mind.” She was on birth control, which had, evidently, failed. And although she had discovered the pregnancy at five weeks—seemingly in time for a legal abortion in Texas—she discovered, as Laura’s family did, that all the clinics near her were booked for three or four weeks in advance. A woman would have to make an appointment before even missing a period to beat that unforgiving clock.

To her further shock, during a sonogram in that fifth week of pregnancy, she learned that, atypically, cellular electrical activity—what is often called the fetal heartbeat—could already be heard. So, even if she’d been able to unearth a slot at a clinic elsewhere in Texas, an abortion was already illegal. Motherhood was not an option. “I want to be able to choose a different path for myself,” she told Franz Theard, the gynecologist who owns the clinic, as he moved the probe over her belly.

Theard, who is seventy-three, has been performing abortions for nearly five decades. His usual demeanor, casual and sunny, is in stark contrast to the vehemence of the abortion debate. He’d like to spend more time in the years ahead on his backhand and net game, and during the pandemic, recovering from a bad bout of COVID -19, he considered retiring. He considered it again recently upon learning that the clinic’s landlord didn’t want to renew his lease and that he’d have to find another space to practice. But he doesn’t want to make the existing shortage of abortion providers in the American Southwest worse.

The bartender told Theard that she had contemplated travelling to Arkansas, where abortions are currently allowed up to the twentieth week, but getting one would require first meeting with a counsellor, as mandated by the state; undergoing an ultrasound; observing the fetus and listening to its heartbeat; getting a detailed description of its development; waiting seventy-two hours before the procedure took place; and, finally, driving four hundred miles back to Houston. How could she take that much time off work? She had briefly considered Louisiana, but the clinics that she found there, including one in a small, dark-brick house in Baton Rouge, inspired no trust. “It looked like somewhere where I would die,” she said.

Back home, people close to her had already suffered S.B. 8’s consequences. A member of her family had found out in her first trimester that her fetus had a possible birth defect, but it was too late for her to get an abortion under Texas law, so she had to continue the pregnancy until the fetus died, mid-term, after which she had no option but to deliver the corpse. Around the same time, her boss’s wife had a similar experience and almost died. “I was about to give up,” she told the doctor. “Then my boyfriend suggested we try New Mexico, and we found you.”

Twenty states, New Mexico among them, have a firmly liberal stance on abortion, a position that a Roe reversal is unlikely to change. There is no waiting period in New Mexico, minors can undergo the procedure without consent from their parents, and the state offers funding for abortions necessitated by medical emergencies. Theard appreciates the privilege of treating patients in this unusually stable context. Even before S.B. 8, abortion providers had been fleeing Texas, and he had been one of them.

Until 2020, he had operated a second clinic, in El Paso. Although there, as in Santa Teresa, he treated many pregnant people whose babies he would go on to deliver, his practice became a political target because of the abortions he was willing to perform. For years, picketers had accosted his employees, shouting and waving placards that said “Burn in Hell!” Those picketers sometimes swarmed his home, forcing his family to live behind closed shutters. (His eldest daughter is now a photography editor at this magazine.) Still, he kept working until, mid-pandemic, a friend and business partner died. Theard realized that, on his own, he couldn’t face another year in a state whose legislators kept devising ever more onerous regulations. He had learned to live with the frequent inspections and fines for infractions. More troubling was the mandate that he provide each of his patients with a reading package containing information he knew to be false, such as the long-debunked connection between abortion and an elevated risk of breast cancer.

Research has established a far clearer link between carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term and living in poverty. One longitudinal project, the Turnaway Study, found that women who were denied an abortion they had hoped for were almost four times more likely to fall below the federal poverty line than women who had received one. Many women I met at Theard’s clinic—some of them in visible distress—had decided that they couldn’t bear the cost of another child.

The unbearable cost was typically economic (half of abortion recipients, nationally, have incomes below the federal poverty line), but in some cases it was time. A mother from North Texas, in her late twenties, worked the night shift as a supervisor in a lab. Every day, she returned home at 11 A.M. ; slept until 3  P.M. , when it was time to help her children with their homework; went back to bed at 7 P.M. ; and forced herself to get up four hours later to go back to work. And this job was better by far than her previous one. “I barely have time for the children I have,” she said, resigned. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that sixty per cent of abortion recipients are mothers already. One Peruvian woman I met at the clinic had left three children, including an eleven-month-old, at home to travel seven hundred miles not to have a fourth—a decision that made her tired eyes well with tears.

The stigma surrounding abortion leaves some of its exploitative economic components underexamined. Between 2017 and 2022, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, the average cost of a medication abortion escalated in lockstep with demand, from four hundred and ninety-five to five hundred and sixty-eight dollars. The trap—one perhaps not unintentionally set—is that, as states mandate that abortions be done earlier and earlier in the pregnancy, increasing costs extend the time it takes for many people to come up with the funds. Of participants in the Turnaway Study, fifty-four per cent of those who had abortions reported delaying the procedure because they had to raise the money for it.

An East African woman who had flown in from Fort Worth told me ruefully that the total cost of her trip would be thirteen hundred dollars: five hundred for the flight, seven hundred at the clinic, and a hundred in cab fares. “I have three kids—I can’t drive eight hours,” she said, adding that her husband had stayed home to look after the children, the youngest of whom was two. The woman, who said she had missed one birth-control pill, was six weeks into her pregnancy.

In the wake of S.B. 8, Theard had decided to treat first the patients who had travelled the farthest to reach his clinic—the sooner they got back on the road, the less likely they would be to fall asleep at the wheel on the drive back home. But the receptionists, Negrete and Hernández, sometimes had to tweak his rule when tensions arose in the waiting room, whose atmosphere they worked hard to keep welcoming and soothing. “What I try to do is have one out-of-towner, followed by one local,” Negrete said. “That way, they won’t feel forgotten. If not, they’re, like, ‘Well, we’re coming from Texas, too!’ Yeah? From where? ‘From El Paso.’ Mija , that’s not McAllen.”

The week I visited, the youngest patient Dr. Theard and his staff would be seeing was fourteen-year-old Laura, from Dallas. On the ride to Santa Teresa, Laura mainly sat in silence, staring at the Snapchat feed on her phone and feeling annoyed at her younger sisters for gulping their drinks and lengthening the trip with their constant need for bathroom stops. To Laura, the journey felt like eighth grade in general—an extended nightmare you just wanted to end.

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It had been hard for her to make friends this school year, though she had really tried. “People were, like, ‘Yeah, we should make plans this weekend. I’ll let you know what we want to do.’ And I’m, like, ‘O.K., let me know,’ and nothing really ever happens,” she said. Having her first boyfriend was the bright spot. At fifteen, he seemed older—already working as a server at a local restaurant to help his mom pay the bills. He was one of those guys who, like her dad, was always hitting up the boss for extra hours. But, in the week before the drive to New Mexico, she hadn’t seen much of the perfect smile that had enticed her last summer. He “needed space” was how she explained it. He was finding her pregnancy “a lot to process.”

As Laura’s father drove, he occasionally glanced at her face in the rearview mirror. He tried not to burden his daughters with concerns about money, but Laura was clever enough to figure out for herself how a newborn in the family would affect their ability to cover the new $3,003 mortgage payments, which he and his girlfriend, an administrative assistant, shouldered together. The rental unit they’d recently left had holes in the roof, and the ceiling below was encrusted in mold. They’d had to clean up rat droppings everywhere, including the refrigerator. The new house was in a calm neighborhood with decent schools that made the father think of the background illustrations in Dr. Seuss books he’d read to his girls. Just before the pregnancy, he’d bought a dining table, and his brother had given him a secondhand fridge with an icemaker and, thus far, no rats. Laura had called the house “our fresh start.” But now, with inflation, soaring gas prices, and this unexpected abortion expense, the father had begun questioning a choice he’d finally made after ten years of planning.

The road from Dallas to New Mexico was monotonously flat, and, for those in the car who knew the real purpose of the trip, the stress and the secrecy were equally fatiguing. If Roe is overturned, the emotional intensity of trips like this one will only increase, should anti-abortion legislatures experiment, as is expected, with laws that impose penalties on those who cross state lines to get procedures that their home states have declared illegal. The father and his girlfriend took turns at the wheel, and at each stop he saved the receipts: forty-five dollars at Chick-fil-A; between forty and seventy dollars each of the three times they stopped for gas; a hundred and eighty dollars for a single room at a low-rise Holiday Inn in El Paso, which the family reached after midnight, all of them collapsing, exhausted, on arrival.

The Holiday Inn is twelve miles from the Paso del Norte International Bridge, which spans the border with Mexico. On the other side, in Ciudad Juárez, the streets are crowded with medical establishments: dentists, surgeons, opticians, imaging labs, hospitals, and a multitude of pharmacies. Some of the pharmacies, unbeknownst to Laura’s father, were selling misoprostol, which, taken alone, may induce abortion, though at increased risk to a woman than if taken with mifepristone. Demand in the United States for such “self-managed abortions” is already high.

One day, I visited a string of Juárez pharmacies with Negrete, who was born and raised in the city. At one of them, nestled among currency-exchange kiosks on a busy avenue, a pharmacist said he had seen an uptick in the number of American women coming in to ask about misoprostol. Depending on the brand, the retail cost of the pills that are needed to induce abortion ranged from five hundred and seventy-six to three thousand pesos—twenty-eight to a hundred and fifty dollars. A prescription was required, he said. No exceptions.

A few blocks into the city center, however, another pharmacy sold boxes of abortion pills over the counter for less than thirty dollars. Each box contained twenty-eight pills—enough to induce multiple abortions—and was affixed with a label stating that the doses should be administered by a doctor. When I asked the woman at the counter for advice about how to use the pills safely, she replied with a blank stare. “They are clueless,” Negrete said, once we’d left the pharmacy.

Women pretending to be Theard’s patients often called the clinic, hoping to get guidance about the abortions they are doing on their own. Self-managed abortion will inevitably increase after Roe, as will the accompanying problems. Negrete knew of women who had swallowed all twenty-eight pills at once. Others had shown up at the clinic having inserted the twenty-eight pills vaginally—a popular underground method that may result in a fatal bacterial infection. “Women,” Negrete said in a hushed voice, “are risking their lives.”

In such a context, it’s easy to forget that women with access to the pills are the lucky ones. Today and in the future, regardless of what happens with Roe, the choice to have an abortion is effectively eliminated already for two overlapping sets of Texans: those who lack the money to travel out of state and those who are unable to risk the journey, as is the case for many women who are undocumented. There are more than a dozen checkpoints manned by U.S. Border Patrol officers across Texas, which means that nearly all undocumented women in need of an abortion are essentially confined to the areas where they live, and thus cannot escape the six-week rule. The rare exceptions are those who are awaiting immigration court hearings, which determine whether or not they can legally stay in the country.

At the clinic, I met one of the exceptions: a Cuban immigrant newly arrived in Texas without documents. She’d travelled to the U.S. with her brother, ahead of her husband and daughter, hoping she could eventually earn enough as a hair stylist to pay for their passage. “Either you have a relative abroad,” the woman said, “ o te mueres pa’l carajo ”—or you die in Hell. She’d gone first to Nicaragua, then hopped a bus to Honduras, where she was detained until, for two hundred dollars, local immigration authorities offered safe passage into Guatemala. Five days later, alongside fifty others, she crossed the border into the U.S. from the northern Mexican city of Piedras Negras, swimming through the Rio Grande’s forceful currents after dawn. “Throughout the entire journey, I never got my period,” she told me. “I thought it was because of stress.” Rumor in a stash house where the woman spent the night had it that her chances of being allowed into the country would improve if she turned herself in, so she did. After six days in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, she was released and reunited in Texas with her father, who had settled eight years ago in Odessa. That same day, she learned she was pregnant.

Her father had spent twenty thousand dollars to get her and her brother out of Cuba. There was no more money for a baby, so the woman had to request permission from immigration authorities to cross state lines to get to Theard’s clinic. They gave her a phone that had a tracking app called SmartLINK, which routinely asked her to submit a photograph of herself. She worried less about the immigration surveillance than about her husband, who had threatened to divorce her if she got an abortion. “I still don’t know what I’m going to say to him,” she told me.

“Would you be upset if I talked you out of it?” Dr. Theard asked a patient gently while performing her sonogram. The thirty-five-year-old woman, who had been raised in foster care, replied with a cautious smile that she was sure. She refused to risk having a child go through what she had experienced. For years, she had taken antidepressants, sedatives, and other drugs to help her cope with the effects of that childhood trauma, and hadn’t had a period in four years. Her body was gradually ceasing ovulation, as if ratifying a choice she’d made long ago.

Later, Theard told me that he often asks women if he can talk them out of their decision—a question at which patients and staff have been known to bridle. On one level, he is trying to discern whether women are being coerced into the procedure. On another, he told me, he’s thinking about how, pregnant with him in Haiti, in the late nineteen-forties, his own mother considered not having a child. Evenings, her husband would put on an elegant suit, mist himself with cologne, and be off to what he called a meeting. “He would come back home at two in the morning and all hell would break loose,” the doctor recalled. In the end, she had Franz and later left Haiti, resettling with him in Washington, D.C.

In the years after the Second World War, the United States and small islands in the Caribbean weren’t terribly alike, but in both places an illegal abortion could usually be obtained if you had money and lived in a city and knew the right people. Through the fifties and sixties, in this country, hundreds of thousands of women managed to get one, according to a Guttmacher Institute estimate. Theard’s own mastery of the practice came the following decade, after abortion was legalized. Having completed medical school at George Washington University, he was deployed with the Army in Frankfurt, Germany, where, he recalled, “there was a lot of screwing going on.” Every week or so, military planes carrying men and women from bases elsewhere landed in Frankfurt, where ten gynecologists, including Theard, were on call. After watching other doctors perform abortions over and over, it was soon second nature to him, too.

When the U.S. became, with Roe, one of the first countries in the world to liberalize its abortion laws, dozens of other countries followed—an expansion of legal abortion rights worldwide that continued into this century. In recent years, though, a handful of countries have retracted those rights, among them Poland, Nicaragua, and the U.S. Theard believes that the politics of abortion in Texas today, and across the U.S. tomorrow, will bring back the secrecy, the criminality, and the unrest that buffeted women’s lives when he was growing up. “I cannot believe that people who were born after ’73 are going back to the Middle Ages,” he said. “Sometimes I think it is more of a taboo now than it was then.”

If Roe is overturned, federal agencies are bracing for a rise in anti-abortion violence, but Theard has decided it’s useless to anticipate public antagonisms that he is helpless to control. “I never learned to shoot while I was in the Army,” he said. “It’s not like I’m going to get a gun now.” A more pressing concern is how to sell his practice to a younger doctor. Like many other aging abortion providers, he’s tried for years. There are no buyers.

Laura’s boyfriend had been slow to text back on the morning she would start her abortion. He had some story about having to take his little brother to get a haircut. Distressed, Laura put on a black hoodie and sweatpants, pulled her long, straight hair back into a ponytail, and rode to the clinic, where she welcomed the minor mercy of being able to hide her face behind a medical mask. In accordance with typical clinic practice, her father and sisters would wait outside, as would other partners, husbands, brothers, and children. Dr. Theard believed that discouraging men from entering the clinic lowered the risk of women being pressured to have the procedure against their will. Children—at least, those not having abortions—were usually kept out because many women had told him that their presence made them sad and uncomfortable. As Laura crossed the parking lot with her father’s girlfriend, two people were offering free pregnancy tests to women exiting their cars, and she couldn’t make out their agendas. That confusion was one of the many elements of the day that left her feeling “just scared.” She was morning-sick, maybe. Heartsick, definitely. Inside a waiting room crowded with other patients from out of town—some of them staring at every new person who walked through the door—she was all too aware that she was the youngest.

No patient at the clinic is called by name, for privacy reasons, so Laura was Patient No. 10. For three hours, Patient No. 10 used every bit of self-discipline in her possession not to turn for comfort to TikTok, knowing that its spangly music and trippy voices might bother the women around her, or provoke more age-appraising stares. Finally, her number rang out in the room.

A few minutes later, Theard was wiping down the probe he’d applied to her belly and informing her that she was in her sixth week: early enough for a legal abortion in Texas, had the state had any slots. She put her hoodie back on and accepted a thimble-size cup containing one mifepristone pill, which prevents the pregnancy from growing. “Nothing is going to happen,” Theard said. “Just swallow it like a Tylenol.” Laura lowered her mask, did as instructed, and left the clinic carrying several items that, together, felt like a lot: instructions to visit the emergency room the next day for a shot to reduce the likelihood of complications connected to her blood type, O negative; an envelope containing four misoprostol pills, to be taken to start the contractions the next day; and a note to middle-school administrators to excuse her absence the day after that.

Laura’s father couldn’t pack up the family and flee the parking lot fast enough, and on impulse he decided to make some quick detours in El Paso, where his mother had grown up. One stop, made in part to cheer up his artistically gifted daughter, was the Segundo Barrio, where graffiti artists from around the country had come together in February to tag walls of industrial warehouses as part of a celebration known as the Borderland Jam. There were renderings of Indigenous goddesses and gods and Mexican icons and the Virgin of Guadalupe. The youngest girl was ecstatic—“Come on, come on, come on!” she said, running toward the murals. Laura gravitated to the paintings farthest from her family. The next stop was a cheese shop that her grandmother had loved, in the sleepy border town of San Elizario. She’d urged her son not to leave West Texas without picking up her favorite asadero cheese, a specialty of northern Mexico. She’d reimburse him, she had solemnly promised.

A third stop, nondiscretionary, was at a Border Patrol checkpoint, where a long line of cars and trailers also waited, and dogs were circling vehicles, sniffing for drugs and hidden migrants. When the family’s turn came to be eyeballed, Laura’s father answered flatly and truthfully a single question—“U.S. citizen?”—and was free to go. A hundred miles later, at an Exxon, his debit card giving him trouble, the U.S. citizen turned to his eldest daughter and said, sighing, “It’s your turn to take care of me.”

He wondered how, or if, his family would recover from the financial blow, now that they had “nothing to fall back on.” He couldn’t feign interest in Season 4 of “The Vampire Diaries,” which his girlfriend was watching on her phone to stay awake as she drove the trip’s final leg. He slept instead. By the time he woke up in the driveway of his house in a Dr. Seuss neighborhood, it was one in the morning, the next mortgage payment was due in seven days, and the absurdity of the top-secret mission hit him all over again. He said, as if summoning a distant memory, “We did feel like we were moving up.”

“Place the pills between upper lip and gum for 30 minutes then swallow with water,” read the instructions on the envelope in Laura’s hand. If Roe is overturned, what Laura did that Sunday after a few hours’ sleep will likely be criminalized in many states, including her own. In some places, terminating a pregnancy from the time of the egg’s fertilization—or fetal personhood, as anti-abortion activists call it—may be tantamount to murder.

Before long, Laura was beset by agonizing cramps. She threw up the macaroni and cheese that she’d eaten for lunch. At one point, she felt like she was dying. And although her boyfriend was texting back that morning, sharing thoughts on the new Batman movie and the relative cuteness of a range of husky dogs on YouTube, the only real comfort came from a hot shower. She was in such pain that her father had to carry her to the bathroom. By day’s end, Laura was no longer pregnant.

Negrete and other employees at the Santa Teresa clinic routinely follow up with patients, three days after they take the pills, to make sure their abortions have gone smoothly. Many will experience severe cramping and feel nauseated and dizzy, as Laura did. A few will face more serious complications, such as critical blood loss or septic shock. Sometimes medication abortions simply fail and women remain pregnant. But a lot of what patients experience Negrete and her colleagues will never know, because they don’t reach half the women on their lists. Women often share fake contact details, and, when they do provide genuine phone numbers, some of them hang up when they hear that the person on the other end is from the clinic.

The call went to voice mail when one of Dr. Theard’s employees tried to reach Laura. What was she going to tell a stranger, anyway? In the weeks after the abortion, her emotions were raw. She was angry about being barred from seeing her boyfriend for the foreseeable future, and sick of lectures about actions having repercussions. She’d been dragged to a doctor who prescribed birth control and tested her for S.T.D.s. “I’m tired of talking about consequences,” Laura said. “I just want it to be over.” It was a relief one day to hang out with her grandmother, who didn’t judge her and laughed when, in passing, someone called El Paso beautiful, because to her it was “just dirt and rocks.” But mainly, Laura said, “it’s kind of just been lonely—sitting in my room the whole time, watching TikTok.” She didn’t even feel like drawing. A sketch of her and her boyfriend, made right before she learned she was pregnant, was the last one she’d done.

In the middle of the night recently, Laura’s father woke to overhear his daughter, in the next room, finishing a call with her boyfriend and then weeping. “Dude, I gotta get up at 2 A.M. to get to work,” the father snapped, upon entering her bedroom. When he saw her face, he sat down on the bed.

“I guess I had been holding it in for a while,” Laura explained. She was embarrassed about having had an abortion, disgusted with herself. She wanted to go back to the person she was before. Sometimes it felt like a whole country was second-guessing her decision. “Think about it, either way you were going to have to battle with emotions,” her father said, embracing her. “If somebody else is saying anything, it’s none of their business. Remember why you did it. It was to better your future, wasn’t it?” ♦

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high school essay on abortion

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high school essay on abortion

The First Amendment and the Abortion Rights Debate

Sofia Cipriano

Following Dobbs v. Jackson ’s (2022) reversal of Roe v. Wade (1973) — and the subsequent revocation of federal abortion protection — activists and scholars have begun to reconsider how to best ground abortion rights in the Constitution. In the past year, numerous Jewish rights groups have attempted to overturn state abortion bans by arguing that abortion rights are protected by various state constitutions’ free exercise clauses — and, by extension, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. While reframing the abortion rights debate as a question of religious freedom is undoubtedly strategic, the Free Exercise Clause is not the only place to locate abortion rights: the Establishment Clause also warrants further investigation. 

Roe anchored abortion rights in the right to privacy — an unenumerated right with a long history of legal recognition. In various cases spanning the past two centuries, t he Supreme Court located the right to privacy in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments . Roe classified abortion as a fundamental right protected by strict scrutiny, meaning that states could only regulate abortion in the face of a “compelling government interest” and must narrowly tailor legislation to that end. As such, Roe ’s trimester framework prevented states from placing burdens on abortion access in the first few months of pregnancy. After the fetus crosses the viability line — the point at which the fetus can survive outside the womb  — states could pass laws regulating abortion, as the Court found that   “the potentiality of human life”  constitutes a “compelling” interest. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) later replaced strict scrutiny with the weaker “undue burden” standard, giving states greater leeway to restrict abortion access. Dobbs v. Jackson overturned both Roe and Casey , leaving abortion regulations up to individual states. 

While Roe constituted an essential step forward in terms of abortion rights, weaknesses in its argumentation made it more susceptible to attacks by skeptics of substantive due process. Roe argues that the unenumerated right to abortion is implied by the unenumerated right to privacy — a chain of logic which twice removes abortion rights from the Constitution’s language. Moreover, Roe’s trimester framework was unclear and flawed from the beginning, lacking substantial scientific rationale. As medicine becomes more and more advanced, the arbitrariness of the viability line has grown increasingly apparent.  

As abortion rights supporters have looked for alternative constitutional justifications for abortion rights, the First Amendment has become increasingly more visible. Certain religious groups — particularly Jewish groups — have argued that they have a right to abortion care. In Generation to Generation Inc v. Florida , a religious rights group argued that Florida’s abortion ban (HB 5) constituted a violation of the Florida State Constitution: “In Jewish law, abortion is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman, or for many other reasons not permitted under the Act. As such, the Act prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion and thus violates their privacy rights and religious freedom.” Similar cases have arisen in Indiana and Texas. Absent constitutional protection of abortion rights, the Christian religious majorities in many states may unjustly impose their moral and ethical code on other groups, implying an unconstitutional religious hierarchy. 

Cases like Generation to Generation Inc v. Florida may also trigger heightened scrutiny status in higher courts; The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993) places strict scrutiny on cases which “burden any aspect of religious observance or practice.”

But framing the issue as one of Free Exercise does not interact with major objections to abortion rights. Anti-abortion advocates contend that abortion is tantamount to murder. An anti-abortion advocate may argue that just as religious rituals involving human sacrifice are illegal, so abortion ought to be illegal. Anti-abortion advocates may be able to argue that abortion bans hold up against strict scrutiny since “preserving potential life” constitutes a “compelling interest.”

The question of when life begins—which is fundamentally a moral and religious question—is both essential to the abortion debate and often ignored by left-leaning activists. For select Christian advocacy groups (as well as other anti-abortion groups) who believe that life begins at conception, abortion bans are a deeply moral issue. Abortion bans which operate under the logic that abortion is murder essentially legislate a definition of when life begins, which is problematic from a First Amendment perspective; the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prevents the government from intervening in religious debates. While numerous legal thinkers have associated the abortion debate with the First Amendment, this argument has not been fully litigated. As an amicus brief filed in Dobbs by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, and American Atheists  points out, anti-abortion rhetoric is explicitly religious: “There is hardly a secular veil to the religious intent and positions of individuals, churches, and state actors in their attempts to limit access to abortion.” Justice Stevens located a similar issue with anti-abortion rhetoric in his concurring opinion in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) , stating: “I am persuaded that the absence of any secular purpose for the legislative declarations that life begins at conception and that conception occurs at fertilization makes the relevant portion of the preamble invalid under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution.” Judges who justify their judicial decisions on abortion using similar rhetoric blur the line between church and state. 

Framing the abortion debate around religious freedom would thus address the two main categories of arguments made by anti-abortion activists: arguments centered around issues with substantive due process and moral objections to abortion. 

Conservatives may maintain, however, that legalizing abortion on the federal level is an Establishment Clause violation to begin with, since the government would essentially be imposing a federal position on abortion. Many anti-abortion advocates favor leaving abortion rights up to individual states. However, in the absence of recognized federal, constitutional protection of abortion rights, states will ban abortion. Protecting religious freedom of the individual is of the utmost importance  — the United States government must actively intervene in order to uphold the line between church and state. Protecting abortion rights would allow everyone in the United States to act in accordance with their own moral and religious perspectives on abortion. 

Reframing the abortion rights debate as a question of religious freedom is the most viable path forward. Anchoring abortion rights in the Establishment Clause would ensure Americans have the right to maintain their own personal and religious beliefs regarding the question of when life begins. In the short term, however, litigants could take advantage of Establishment Clauses in state constitutions. Yet, given the swing of the Court towards expanding religious freedom protections at the time of writing, Free Exercise arguments may prove better at securing citizens a right to an abortion. 

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Argumentative Essay on Abortion – Sample Essay

Published by gudwriter on October 24, 2017 October 24, 2017

A Break Down of my Abortion Argumentative Essay

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Title: Abortion Should Be Legal


The introduction paragraph of an argumentative essay constitutes of 4 parts. Topic introduction, a reason why the topic is important, accepting there is a difference of opinion on this topic and lastly a statement that gives the writer’s main premises, popularly known as a thesis statement.

The body of my abortion argumentative essay contains reasons + evidence to support my thesis. I have also included opposing arguments to show the reader that I have considered both sides of the argument and that am able to anticipate and criticize any opposing arguments before they are even stated. I have made sure to show the reader that though I have written opposing arguments and that I do not agree with them.

The conclusion paragraph of this abortion essay constitutes of three main parts. The first part restates the main premises: The decision to terminate a pregnancy should generally lie with pregnant women. The second part presents 1 – 2 sentences which summarizes the arguments that support my thesis. And lastly my personal position.

I tried to use credible resources for this essay. Books from respectable publishers on this subject.  Peer reviewed articles and journals are also acceptable.

Argumentative Essay on Abortion

The abortion debate is an ongoing controversy, continually dividing Americans along moral, legal, and religious lines. Most people tend to assume one of two positions: “pro-life” (an embryo or fetus should be given the right to gestate to term and be born. Simply put, women should not be given the right to abort as that constitutes murder) or “pro-choice” (women should be given the right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy).

When you are writing an abortion  argumentative essay , you are free to support any side that you want. Whichever position you take, make sure you have good points and supporting facts.

In this abortion essay, I have decided to take the pro-choice position: a woman carrying a fetus should be given the right to abort it or carry the baby to term. In fact, my thesis statement for this argumentative essay is abortion should be legal and women should have the right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

My essay is divided into three basic parts, the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Read till the end to find the brief analysis of the parts /sections.

Here is my abortion argumentative essay. Enjoy!

Abortion Should Be Legal

A heated debate continues to surround the question of whether or not abortion should be legal. Those who feel it should be legal have branded themselves “pro-choice” while those opposed to its legality fall under the banner of “pro-life.” In the United States of America, not even the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case (Parker, 2017) that declared abortion as a fundamental human right has served to bring this debate to an end. The pro-choice brigade front an argument that abortion is a right that should be enjoyed by all women and one that should not be taken away by religious authority or even governments. They claim that this right cannot be superseded by the perceived right that should be enjoyed by a fetus or embryo. If not legalized, the pro-choice claim, women would resort to unsafe means. However, to pro-life, the life of a human being begins at fertilization and therefore abortion condemns an innocent human being to immoral murder. They further argue that the practice exposes the unborn human to pain and suffering. This paper argues that abortion should be legal and women should have the right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

Perhaps you may find comparing and contrasting the higher education between England and Kenya interesting .

Just as was observed by the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, an individual should be allowed certain privacy zones or areas. The decision of a pregnant woman to terminate her pregnancy or not should fall within this fundamental right (Parker, 2017). Interfering with this right is a kin to deciding for a person the kind of people they may associate with or the kind of a person they may fall in love with. These kinds of private matters are very sensitive and any decision touching on them should be left at the discretion of an individual. After all, it is the woman who knows why they would want to terminate a pregnancy. It could be that seeing the pregnancy to its maturity and eventual delivery would endanger the life of the bearer. It could also be that a woman is not comfortable with having a baby due to some reason(s). Whatever reason a woman might have, it is their private affair; they should be left to handle it in private.

On the same note, women get empowered by reproductive choice as they get the opportunity to freely exercise control over their bodies. Just like male members of the society, women should be allowed to be independent and be able to determine their future. This includes the freewill of determining whether or not to have children. The ability to control their productive lives would ensure that women are well placed to take part equally in the social and economic matters of the society (Mooney, 2013). It should not be that upon conceiving, a woman has no otherwise but to deliver the baby. What if the conception was accidental? Even if it was not accidental, a woman can realize or determine before delivery that she is just not ready to have the baby as she might have initially planned. At that point, they should have the freedom to terminate the pregnancy.

The pro-life’s argument that abortion is murder is a bit far fetched. The fetus or embryo may be innocent as they claim. However, it is noteworthy that it is only after the fetus becomes able to survive outside the womb that personhood begins (Ziegler, 2015). This is definitely after birth and not during the pregnancy or at conception. In this respect, the claim that abortion kills innocent human beings is actually not valid. On the contrary, this stance or statement culminates in the victimization of innocent women who have committed no wrong but exercised their right of controlling their reproductive life. Ideally, an embryo or fetus should not be considered a human being just yet. There   should thus be nothing like “unborn babies” but fetuses or embryos.

Legal abortion also ensures that women may avoid maternal injury or death by securing professional and safe means of performing abortion. The point here is that illegalizing abortion would compel some women to resort to unsafe abortion means. In the process, they might sustain life threatening injuries or even lose their lives (Schwarz & Latimer, 2012). Whether legal or not, a woman would make up their mind and terminate her pregnancy! The only difference is that in a “legal” environment, she would be safe. Why then endanger the lives of pregnant women who may like to have an abortion by illegalizing the practice? In addition, the pro-life argument that a fetus feels pain during the procedure of abortion is less convincing. It may be that the reason a mother is terminating a pregnancy is to prevent the yet to be born child from facing the pains of the world. If a mother feels she may not accord her child all the necessities of life, she would be right to subject the child to the “short-term pain” during abortion.

Those opposed to abortion further argue that the practice brews a traumatic experience for women as it involves the death of a human being. Specifically, they contend that the experience emanates from a woman witnessing how she intentionally and violently condemns her unborn child to death by physically destroying it. They hold that it also subjects the woman to unacknowledged grief and thoughts of severed maternal attachments and as well violates her parental responsibility and instinct (Major et al., 2009). According to this argument, this experience can be as traumatic as to plunge a woman into serious mental health problems, in what may be called post-abortion syndrome (PAS). This syndrome may attract symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they say. Anti-abortion crusaders further contend that the aftermath of undergoing the procedure may see a woman experience such PTSD related symptoms as substance abuse, guilt, shame, anger, grief, depression, denial, and flashbacks (Major et al., 2009). While all these may seem to be sensible to some extent, they fail to recognize that a woman who willfully secures an abortion would not have to worry about having “killed” her unborn baby. Instead, she would appreciate that she was able to successfully terminate the pregnancy before it could grow to maturity.

The decision to terminate a pregnancy should generally lie with pregnant women. It is a private decision that should not be interfered with. Women should be able to determine when to have a child. If she deems it not yet time, she should be allowed to abort. A woman actually kills nobody by aborting but rather prevents the fetus from being able to survive outside the womb. The reason for aborting should not be questioned, whether medical, involving incest or rape, or just personal. Whatever reason it might be, it falls within the right of a woman to determine and control their productive life.

Major, B. et al. (2009). Abortion and mental health.  American Psychologist , 64 (9), 863-890.

Mooney, C. (2013). Should abortion be legal? San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press, Incorporated.

Parker, W. (2017). Life’s work: a moral argument for choice . New York City, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Schwarz, S. D., & Latimer, K. (2012). Understanding abortion: from mixed feelings to rational thought . Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Ziegler, M. (2015). After Roe . Cambridge , MA: Harvard University Press.

Argumentative Essay against Abortion 2, with Outline

Abortion argumentative essay outline.

Thesis:  Abortion is wrong and should not be legalized since its disadvantages far outweigh its advantages, if any.

Paragraph 1:

It is wrong to condemn an innocent human being to murder.

  • Human life begins at conception and this implies that at whatever stage a pregnancy may be terminated, an innocent being would have been killed.
  • The fetus is a human being and should be allowed to grow and be born and live their life to the fullest.
  • A fetus has a unique genetic code and thus it is a unique individual person.

Paragraph 2:

It is wrong to deliberately cause pain.

  • Whatever process is used to secure an abortion subjects the developing human to untold suffering before they eventually die.
  • By 18 weeks, a fetus has undergone sufficient development to feel pain.
  • Aborting a fetus is the same as physically attacking an innocent person and causing them fatal physical bodily harm.

Paragraph 3:

Abortion increases tolerance of killing which is a wrong precedence for the human race.

  • To legalize abortion and to view it as being right is like to legalize killing and see nothing wrong with it.
  • The respect people have for human life would be reduced if killing would be legalized.
  • Loss of society’s respect for human life may result into increased murder rates, genocide, and euthanasia.

Paragraph 4:

Abortion is can seriously harm a woman’s body and in some cases lead to the death of that woman.

  • It yields both anticipated physical side effects as well as potentially more serious complications.
  • In other instances, a woman may experience serious complications that may even threaten her life as a result of having an abortion.

Paragraph 5:

People who believe abortion is not morally wrong argue that the fetus should not necessarily be considered a person with the right to life.

  • This is wrong because the collection of human cells that is the fetus, if given the opportunity to grow, eventually becomes a complete human being.
  • The beginning of human life should be considered to be at conception.
  • A conceived human should be allowed to see out their life.

Paragraph 6:

The pro-choice group argues that pregnant women have moral rights too and that these rights may override the right of the fetus to live.

  • This argument fails to acknowledge that the moral rights of one human being should not deny another human being their moral rights.
  • Both the woman and fetus’ rights should be respected.

Abortion is absolutely wrong and no arguments can justify its morality or legality. It kills innocent human beings before they can develop and experience life. It also causes untold pain and suffering to an innocent fetus. It further increases tolerance to killing.

Argumentative Essay against Abortion Example 2

People across the world have strong opinions for and against abortion. Those who argue for its legalization fall under the “pro-choice” group while those who oppose its legalization are under the “pro-life” group. Even after the practice was declared a fundamental human right in the United States by the  Roe v. Wade  Supreme Court case, the debate about it is still going on in the country. According to pro-choice arguments, all women should enjoy abortion as a human right and no religious and/or government authorities should take that away from them. On the other hand, pro-life brigade argue that abortion immorally murders innocent human beings since the life of a human being begins at fertilization. This paper argues that abortion is wrong and should not be legalized since its disadvantages far outweigh its advantages, if any.

The major reason why abortion is wrong is because it is wrong to condemn an innocent human being to murder.  Human life begins once they are conceived  and this implies that at whatever stage a pregnancy may be terminated, an innocent being would have been killed. The fetus is in itself a human being and should be allowed to grow and be born and live their life to the fullest. As pointed out by Kaczor (2014), a fetus has a unique genetic code and thus it is a unique individual person. It is a potential human being with a future just like people who are already born. It would be wrong to destroy their future on the account of being killed through abortion.

Abortion is also wrong because it is wrong to deliberately cause pain. Whatever process is used to secure an abortion subjects the developing human to untold suffering before they eventually die. By 18 weeks, a fetus has undergone sufficient development to feel pain (Meyers, 2010). Thus, aborting it would be the same as physically attacking an innocent person and causing them fatal physical bodily harm. Under normal circumstances, such an attack would attract condemnation and the person or people involved would be punished accordingly as per the law. This is the exact same way abortion should be viewed and treated. It should be legally prohibited and those who do it should be punished for causing pain on an innocent person.

Further, abortion increases tolerance of killing and this is a wrong precedence being created for the human race. Just as Kershnar (2017) warns, to legalize abortion and to view it as being right is like to legalize killing and see nothing wrong with it. The respect people have for human life would be reduced if killing was legalized. It would be wrong and detrimental to reduce society’s respect for human life as it may result in increased murder rates, genocide, and euthanasia. Just like such measures as vaccination and illegalization of murder are taken to preserve human life, prohibiting abortion should be considered an important way of increasing human respect for life. Society should not tolerate killing in whatever form and should discourage it through every available opportunity.

Another detrimental effect of abortion is that it can seriously harm a woman’s body and in some cases lead to the death of that woman. It yields both anticipated physical side effects as well as potentially more serious complications. Some of the side effects a woman is likely to experience after securing an abortion include bleeding and spotting, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and cramping and abdominal pain. Worse is that these side effects can continue occurring two to four weeks after the procedure is completed (“Possible Physical Side Effects,” 2019). In other instances, a woman may experience serious complications that may even threaten her life as a result of having an abortion. These complications may include damage to other body organs, perforation of the uterus, the uterine wall sustaining scars, the cervix being damaged, sepsis or infection, and persistent or heavy bleeding. In the worst case scenario, a woman undergoing the abortion process might lose her life instantly (“Possible Physical Side Effects,” 2019). While such cases are rare, it is still not sensible to expose a woman to these experiences. A practice that has the potential to endanger human life in this manner should be considered wrong both legally and morally. It is the responsibility of individuals to care for and not expose their lives to harm.

People who believe abortion is not morally wrong argue that the fetus should not necessarily be considered a person who has the right to life. They hold that the fetus is just a collection of human cells and thus does not deserve the express right to live (Bailey, 2011). This argument is misinformed because the fact is that this collection of human cells that is the fetus, if given the opportunity to grow, eventually becomes a complete human being. This is why the beginning of human life should be considered to be at conception and not at birth or after some time after conception. A conceived human should be allowed to see out their life and only die naturally.

Another argument by the pro-choice group is that pregnant women have moral rights too and that these rights may override the right of the fetus to live under certain circumstances. These rights, according to this argument, include the right to take decision without legal or moral interference, the right to decide one’s own future, the right to ownership of one’s own body, and the right to life (Bailey, 2011). This argument fails to acknowledge that the moral rights of one human being should not deny another human being their moral rights. Even in cases where carrying a pregnancy to delivery would endanger the life of a pregnant woman, the fetus should be separated from the mother and be allowed to grow through such other mechanisms as being placed in an incubator.

Abortion is absolutely wrong and no arguments can justify its morality or legality. It kills innocent human beings before they can develop and experience life. It also causes untold pain and suffering to an innocent fetus. It further increases tolerance to killing, a precedence that would make people throw away their respect to human life and kill without a second thought. Even worse is that the practice exposes aborting women to serious bodily harm and could even claim their lives. Those who do not consider the fetus as a moral person who deserves to live are wrong because upon complete development, the fetus indeed becomes a human being. Similarly, those who feel the moral rights of a pregnant woman should override those of the fetus ignore the fact that both the woman and the fetus are human beings with equal rights.

Bailey, J. (2011).  Abortion . New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.

Kaczor, C. (2014).  The ethics of abortion: women’s rights, human life, and the question of justice . New York, NY: Routledge.

Kershnar, S. (2017).  Does the pro-life worldview make sense?: Abortion, hell, and violence against abortion doctors . New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Meyers, C. (2010).  The fetal position: a rational approach to the abortion issue . Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

“Possible Physical Side Effects after Abortion”. (2019). In  American Pregnancy Association , Retrieved July 5, 2020.

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Abortion knowledge, attitudes and experiences among adolescent girls: a review of the literature

Cecilia espinoza.

a Ipas Senior Advocacy Advisor, Ipas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Ghazaleh Samandari

b Independent consultant, Ipas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Kathryn Andersen

c Chief Scientific and Technical Officer, Ipas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Adolescent girls comprise a considerable proportion of annual abortion deaths, worldwide, with 15% of all unsafe abortions taking place among girls under 20 years of age. Despite recent global attention to the health and welfare of adolescent girls, little is known about their abortion experience, particularly of those under the age of 15 years. This review examines existing peer-reviewed and grey literature on abortion-related experiences of adolescent girls, paying particular attention to girls ages 10–14. In December 2019, the authors conducted a comprehensive search of five major online resource databases, using a two-part keyword search strategy for articles from 2003 to 2019. Of the original 3,100+ articles, 1,228 were individually screened and 35 retained for inclusion in the analysis. Findings show that while adolescent girls may have knowledge of abortion in general, they lack specific knowledge of sources of care and delay care-seeking due to the fear of stigma, lack of resources and provider bias. Adolescent girls do not experience higher rates of physical complications compared to older cohorts, but they are at risk of psychosocial harm. For girls ages 10–14, abortion experience may be compounded by pregnancy due to sexual abuse or transactional sex, and they face even more barriers to care than older adolescents in terms of provider bias and lack of agency. Adolescents have unique needs and experiences around abortion, which should be accounted for in programming and advocacy. Adolescent girls need information about safe abortion at an early age and a responsive and stigma-free health system.


Dans le monde, les adolescentes représentent une proportion considérable des décès annuels dus à l’avortement, avec 15% de tous les avortements à risque étant pratiqués sur des filles âgées de moins de 20 ans. En dépit de l’attention mondiale récemment accordée à la santé et au bien-être des adolescentes, on sait peu de choses de leur expérience de l’avortement, en particulier pour celles qui ont moins de 15 ans. Cette analyse examine les publications à comité de lecture et la littérature grise sur l’expérience des adolescentes en rapport avec l’avortement, en s’intéressant particulièrement aux filles âgées de 10 à 14 ans. En décembre 2019, les auteurs ont réalisé une recherche exhaustive de cinq bases de données majeures de ressources en ligne, à l’aide d’une stratégie de recherche par mot clé en deux parties pour les articles de 2003 à 2019. Sur les plus de 3100 articles, 1228 ont été sélectionnés individuellement et 35 retenus pour être inclus dans l’analyse. Les conclusions montrent que si les adolescentes peuvent avoir des connaissances générales sur l’avortement, elles manquent de renseignements précis sur les sources de soins et retardent la demande de soins par crainte de la stigmatisation, manque de ressources et préjugés des prestataires. Les adolescentes ne connaissent pas de taux plus élevés de complications physiques que des cohortes plus âgées, mais elles risquent des dommages psychosociaux. Chez les filles âgées de 10 à 14 ans, l’expérience de l’avortement peut être aggravée par le fait que la grossesse était due à un abus sexuel ou à des relations sexuelles transactionnelles, et elles rencontrent des obstacles encore plus nombreux pour obtenir des soins que les adolescentes plus âgées, du point de vue des préjugés des prestataires et du manque de pouvoir. Les adolescents ont des besoins et des expériences uniques autour de l’avortement, dont il faudrait tenir compte dans la programmation et le plaidoyer. Les adolescentes ont besoin d’informations sur l’avortement sûr à un âge précoce ainsi que d’un système de santé réactif et qui ne les stigmatise pas.

Un considerable porcentaje de muertes anuales atribuibles al aborto ocurre entre adolescentes a nivel mundial, ya que el 15% de todos los abortos inseguros ocurren entre niñas menores de 20 años. A pesar de la atención mundial reciente a la salud y el bienestar de las adolescentes, no se sabe mucho sobre su experiencia de aborto, en particular entre aquéllas menores de 15 años. Esta revisión examina la literatura existente revisada por pares y la literatura gris sobre las experiencias de las adolescentes con relación al aborto, y presta particular atención a niñas entre 10 y 14 años. En diciembre de 2019, los autores realizaron una búsqueda integral en cinco principales bases de datos de recursos en línea, utilizando una estrategia de búsqueda con palabras clave de dos partes de artículos publicados entre los años 2003 y 2019. De los 3,100+ artículos originales, 1,228 fueron examinados individualmente y 35 fueron retenidos para su inclusión en el análisis. Los hallazgos muestran que, aunque las adolescentes tengan conocimientos generales del aborto, carecen de conocimientos específicos sobre las fuentes de servicios y retrasan la búsqueda de atención por temor al estigma, falta de recursos y prejuicios del personal de salud. Las adolescentes no presentan mayores tasas de complicaciones físicas comparadas con grupos de mujeres de edad más avanzada, pero corren riesgo de sufrir daños psicosociales. La experiencia de aborto de niñas entre 10 y 14 años podría verse agravada en casos de embarazo producido por abuso sexual o sexo transaccional; además, estas niñas enfrentan aun más barreras para obtener servicios que las adolescentes mayores, por los prejuicios del personal de salud y la falta de agencia. Las adolescentes tienen necesidades y experiencias únicas con relación al aborto, las cuales deben tomarse en consideración en los programas y en las actividades de promoción y defensa. Las adolescentes necesitan información sobre el aborto seguro a temprana edad y un sistema de salud receptivo y libre de estigma.

Each year, an estimated 3.2 million unsafe abortions (defined as a pregnancy termination performed either by a person lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking adequate medical standards) take place among adolescent girls ages 15–19. This number accounts for almost 15% of the total global incidence of unsafe abortion (22 million), and abortion-related mortality among young girls and women accounts for nearly one-third of abortion-related deaths worldwide. 1 Despite recently increased commitments to adolescent reproductive health, our understanding of their abortion experiences is limited. Furthermore, the focus of policy and programmatic attention remains primarily on adolescents ages 15–19, leaving a substantial gap in our understanding of the sexual and reproductive experiences of adolescents ages 10–14. 2–4 Girls in this category comprise a large and growing segment of the population, particularly in highly impoverished regions of the world (estimated at 545 million in 2015). 5 A parallel increase in the age of marriage in many contexts has extended the period of premarital fertility, which further exposes young adolescents to the risk of unintended pregnancy resulting in unsafe abortion. 6–8 Moreover, the majority of unsafe abortion incidence is concentrated in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) where the 10–14-year-old population is proportionally largest, and where many countries have restrictive abortion laws. 9 , 10

The potential for sexual and reproductive harm among adolescents is a present and growing threat, yet our understanding of abortion in this group is insufficient to properly address their needs through programmatic and policy interventions. The purpose of this literature review is to explore abortion-related knowledge, attitudes and experiences of adolescent girls, paying particular attention to those ages 10–14.

This literature review focused on the abortion knowledge, experiences and attitudes of younger (10–14 years) and older (15–19 years) adolescents from LMIC (as defined by the World Bank). 11

Data sources

We conducted a systematic search of five online resource databases: PubMed, Global Health, Embase, POPLINE and Google Scholar, between June 2018 and December 2019. In addition, we searched websites of organisations that do sexual and reproductive health work with adolescents to locate any additional grey literature. These organisations included Ipas, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Guttmacher Institute, Marie Stopes International and EngenderHealth. We also conducted a general search of the Google search engine to locate any additional grey literature sources.

Search strategy

The search covered the time frame between 2003 and 2019 and was run simultaneously by GS and CE. Databases were searched using a two-part keyword search strategy. The first set of search terms focused on limiting the age group of target populations to only adolescents and included “Adolesc”* OR “young” OR “youth”* OR “girl”* OR “very young girl”* OR “very young adolesc”* OR “adolescent health services”* OR “child” OR “pregnancy in adolescence”. The second set of search terms related to abortion experience and included “Abortion” OR “termination of pregnancy” OR “pregnancy termination” OR “menstrual regulation” OR “postabortion” OR “abortion, induced”OR “abortion applicants”. These terms were used in combination with “tiab” and “MeSH” settings to maximise the identification of keywords in indexed articles in the databases.

Selection criteria

The search included all English, Spanish and French language † peer-reviewed publications of either quantitative or qualitative nature related to the abortion knowledge, attitudes or experience of adolescents ages 10–19. The search was restricted to articles that included findings from adolescents 19 years or younger years of age, meaning articles that included women from older age groups were included so long as data were segregated by age groups and findings for adolescents under 20 years of age could be differentiated from that of older women. The primary focus of this review is on adolescents from low- to middle-income countries.

Articles were excluded if they did not include findings from primary data collection or original secondary analysis of a primary data source, if they did not include data on the abortion experience, knowledge or attitudes of adolescents under the age of 20 years or did not come from an LMIC, with one exception: given that data on younger adolescents are sparse, if a study included segregated data on 10–14-year-olds, it was included in the review regardless of the LMIC status of the sample.

Screening and selection

We conducted screening and selection using the PRISMA guidelines ( Figure 1 ). 12 The search yielded over 3,100 articles, many of which included either duplicate articles of studies pertaining to clinical findings not suitable for the topic of this review (such as unrelated obstetric outcomes). The screening process was multi-stage, whereby first we removed all duplicates and clearly irrelevant articles (for example articles that pertained to highly technical obstetric procedures). We then performed an initial screening based on the abstracts retrieved in the first stage of the search. In this first pass, the reviewer erred on the side of inclusion, so as not to accidentally omit articles that may have provided relevant data in full-text form. After the initial abstract review, we conducted a third screening of full-text articles; only studies for which the full text was available either in English, French or Spanish were retained (as these were the working languages of the authors). Each article was then reviewed for quality by GS and CE using the critical appraisal skills programme checklist for both quantitative and qualitative studies. 13

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PRISMA screening process

Data abstraction and analysis

The articles were abstracted in terms of their publication details (authors, date, title, etc.), geographic scope, purpose, study design, population, methods and main findings. The articles were coded by hand into thematic areas that emerged from initial reading and organisation of the articles. The themes evolved over the course of coding, and the final list of themes included abortion knowledge and attitudes, comparative abortion rates for adolescents versus older women, reasons for abortion, the timing of abortion and postabortion care, sources and methods of abortion, experiences with formal health providers, the experience of complications of abortion, and psychosocial outcomes of abortion. Articles could be assigned more than one code and thus may appear under more than one thematic area.

A total of 35 articles were included in this review ( Table 1 ); five were qualitative, one used mixed methods, and the rest ( n  = 29) were quantitative. Twenty-three of the articles were from Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g. Cote d’Ivoire = 1, the Democratic Republic of Congo = 1, Ethiopia = 4, Ghana = 1, Kenya = 2, Malawi = 3, Nigeria = 5, South Africa = 1, Uganda = 1 and Zambia = 1), 6 from Asia (e.g. Bangladesh = 1, India = 1 Japan = 1, Nepal = 1 Thailand = 2) and 6 from the Americas (Brazil = 3, Guadeloupe = 1, Mexico = 2). Sample sizes for the study ranged considerably depending on the method (quantitative versus qualitative) and the focus and design of the study; the largest study involved a national health records review (115,490 live birth records reviewed quantitatively in Thailand) while the smallest was an exploratory qualitative study of 16 girls in Malawi. The results of the study are presented in terms of two broad categories: knowledge/attitudes towards abortion and abortion experience. The category of abortion experience is further divided into abortion rates (comparing <19 girls with other age groups), reasons for abortion, timing and methods used for abortion, complications of abortion, experiences with providers, and psycho-social outcomes. Within these categories, there may be a combination of results pertaining to 15–19 and 10–14-year-old adolescents.

Abortion knowledge and attitudes

Five studies in this review examined the knowledge and attitudes of adolescents around the termination of pregnancy. Although adolescents are cognisant of abortion as a service, their knowledge of legality, methods of termination and access points for abortion are low. Among a sample of 10–19-year-old secondary school girls in Lagos, Nigeria, 83% had knowledge of abortion as a topic and 10–14-year-olds were more likely to know legal indications and methods of abortion than those ages 15–19. 14 In Ethiopia, 63% of adolescents were aware that abortion is safe in some cases, but few could name the indications for legal abortion. 15 An internet survey of students from two technical schools in Brazil showed that the knowledge of abortion methods among 12–14-year-olds was lower than that among 15–16-year-olds (29% vs 40%, respectively). 16 Among 16–20-year-old girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 46% knew of a place to obtain an abortion, 71% knew of someone who had had an illegal abortion, and most were able to name at least one health consequence of illegal abortion (death, infertility, infection and bleeding were the most commonly cited). 17

Attitudes towards abortion among young adolescents are fairly conservative. In Brazil, legal termination of pregnancy was supported by only 56% of male and female adolescent (12–21-years-old) respondents in a school-based study. 16 In Nigeria, younger adolescents (10–14-years-old) were less accepting of abortion than older adolescents (15–19-years-old). 14 In a study of 13–19-year-old males and females in Kenya, most participants disagreed with the use of abortion in the case of unwanted pregnancy and girls were significantly more likely to disagree with abortion than boys (91% vs 87%, respectively; p  = 0.007) 18 In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where at the time of the study abortion was only legal to save a woman’s life, 76% of student respondents (16–20 years) were opposed to illegal abortion. 17

Comparative abortion rates/ratios among adolescents vs older groups

Nine studies in this review examined the rates or ratios of abortion among young/very young adolescents compared to older groups of women. In Bangladesh, one study showed a higher abortion ratio among adolescents <18 than 18–19-year-olds (44 vs 23 per 1,000 births, respectively; p  < 0.001) and unmarried adolescents were 35 times as likely as married adolescents to abort (20 vs 733 abortions per 1,000 births; p  < 0.001). 19 In Thailand, the probability of abortion was significantly higher among 10–14-year-olds than among 20–24-year-olds (OR = 1.18, p  < 0.001), while in 15–19-year-olds the probability of abortion is reduced (OR = 0.65, p  < 0.001). 20 In another study in the same setting, Thai girls ages 10–14 had nearly double the ratio of unsafe abortion compared to 15–19-year-olds (1,089 vs 602 unsafe abortions per 100,000 live births, respectively). 21 In Brazil, 20% of sexually active 12–14-year-old girls and 27% of 15–19-year-olds reported having had a prior abortion. 22 When adjusting for levels of sexual activity in Ethiopia, 15–19-year-old girls had higher rates of legal abortion than any other age group (64%). 23 In Nepal, however, women ages 20–34 were significantly more likely to report an induced abortion compared to those under 20 years (OR: 5.54; 95% CI: 2.87–10.72). 24

In Malawi, girls ages 10–19 comprised 20–28% of all abortions, second only to the 20–24 age group. 25 , 26 Among all 10–19-year-olds, unmarried adolescents were 11 times as likely to terminate a pregnancy as married girls ( p  < 0.05) and among all unmarried women, adolescents (10–19 years) had higher rates of abortion (34%) than women aged 20–24 (12%) or women 25+ (20%; p  < 0.05). 26 In a study in India, the majority of those seeking abortions were under 20 years of age (56%), 38% of whom were girls under the age of 16. 27 In Mexico, among 10–14-year-old girls the percentage of all live births ending in abortion rose from 13.6% in 2000 to 16.3% in 2010 while percentages for 15–19-year-old girls remained between 10% and 11% (descriptive abortion rates rose across all other age groups in that same period; however, no significance tests were presented). 28

Reasons for abortion

Nine studies solicited reasons why adolescents sought to terminate a pregnancy which included: the desire to continue education or to protect future aspirations; to avoid the stigma of teenage pregnancy; poverty; health; rape; incest or transactional sex.

In Zambia, girls <19 who had induced abortion did so to continue schooling and protect future aspirations. 29 These findings were echoed in Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa and Guadeloupe. 19 , 22 , 30 , 31 A study of post-abortion care patients aged less than 19 in Malawi found that 87% were sexually assaulted by someone familiar to them, while another 3% had exchanged sex for money or clothes. 18 In South Africa and Zambia adolescents seeking abortion did so due to experiences of sexual violence (i.e. rape or incest); the South African cohort also reported fears of physical trauma due to childbirth as a reason for abortion. 30 , 31 Baba et al., in Japan, also showed that girls 10–14 were more likely to experience pregnancy due to rape or incest than older adolescents. 32 In Nigeria, adolescents who had undergone abortion were significantly more likely to have experienced transactional or forced sex. 33

Another salient reason for abortion among adolescents was fear of reprisal for getting pregnant outside of marriage or being too young to become a mother, often perpetuated by parents or members of the community. A study of unmarried pregnant adolescents in Uganda found that many girls who sought abortion felt they had to do it to “save face” for their parents; and in some contexts, such as in Mexico, girls reported that parents forced them to seek abortions. 28 , 34 Dahlback et al., in Zambia, and Ramakeula et al., in South Africa, confirmed that girls consider pregnancy shameful and stigmatising for themselves and their families, often leading them to undergo an unsafe abortion. 29 , 30 Poverty and fear for the girls’ maternal health were also important factors in abortion-seeking in a number of contexts including Nigeria and Bangladesh. 19 , 33

Timing of abortion and post-abortion care

Once the decision has been made to terminate a pregnancy, adolescents are more likely to delay the timing of abortion and post-abortion care. The studies with data on the timing of abortion showed that the majority of girls seek abortion in the second trimester and that they are more likely to delay abortion when compared to women in older cohorts.

In a study of girls less than 19 years old in India, 72% sought an abortion in the second trimester. 27 Similarly, in Guadeloupe, 55% of adolescents less than 18 years old reported seeking an abortion after nine weeks of amenorrhoea. 31 Three studies, in Japan, Ethiopia and Nigeria, showed that when compared to older groups of women, girls younger than 19 were more likely to delay abortion until the second trimester. In Nigeria, 45% of girls ages 10–18 sought a second-trimester abortion compared with 30% of women in older groups. 35 In Ethiopia, girls younger than 19 had more than double the odds of aborting in the second trimester, when compared to women aged 25 or older (OR = 2.64% CI: 1.23–5.68). 36 In a study of post-abortion care for patients ages 12–19 in Kenya, adolescents were more likely than older women to have undergone a second-trimester abortion. 37

Sources and methods of abortion

In the 10 studies that examined sources and methods of care among adolescents, the use of herbal or chemical concoctions or foreign objects inserted in the vagina was common, as was the use of traditional healers.

Ahmed et al., in Bangladesh, showed that 57% of abortion attempts among adolescents were performed by traditional healers (defined as persons in the community who provide treatment for abortion but have no formal training). 19 In Zambia, Dahlbeck et al. found that the majority of unsafe abortions (not defined by authors) among adolescents (76%) took place at home, with 47% performed by traditional healers. 29 In Cote d’Ivoire adolescents primarily self-prescribe medication (not medical abortion, but rather other over-the-counter medications) (70%) as the first attempt at termination, followed, in case of failure, by traditional healers (56.4%), then healthcare practitioners only at the third attempt (85.7%). 38 In Ethiopia, half of the adolescents reported attempting abortion at home while the other half terminated at a health centre. 39

Four studies in Brazil, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Zambia reported the unsafe methods used by adolescents for abortion: ingestion of herbs and roots or over-the-counter drugs like Chloroquine, Panadol and Cafernol; foreign objects such as Nescafe, ground glass, or herbs, sticks or leaves inserted into the vagina; and blunt force trauma to the stomach. These methods may have been in the context of a self-induced abortion or one presided over by a traditional healer. 16 , 29 , 38 , 40

In Nigeria, lack of access to adequate medical personnel, facilities and equipment were predictors of illegal abortion among girls ages 14–21. 41 High cost of safe abortion service fees and distrust in the health care providers were also cited as barriers to accessing safe abortion in Ghana. 42

Experiences with formal health care providers

Three studies showed that adolescents experience bias from health care providers and fear their reprisal, which may make them less likely to seek abortion at a formal health care facility. In Ghana, adolescents under the age of 20 (44%) were the least likely to obtain care from trained abortion providers when compared to women ages 20–29 (57%) or women 30 and older (65%). 40 When controlling for demographic and economic factors and the knowledge of abortion legality, adolescent girls still had a 77% lower odds of a safe abortion compared to women 30 and older. 5 In another study in Ghana, girls perceived providers as being hostile and did not trust providers or facilities to maintain their privacy or confidentiality. 40 In Malawi, girls undergoing abortion identified fear of abuse by health providers as one of the main sources of psychological distress during the abortion process. 43 In Mexico, adolescent girls who sought abortion care on their own (as opposed to with an accompanying adult) were refused abortion counselling and care. 44

Complications of unsafe abortion

Eleven studies in this review addressed the rate and types of complications among adolescent girls undergoing induced abortion, showing that while young adolescents comprise a disproportionate number of unsafe abortions, their risk of complications during abortion as compared to older women is inconclusive.

In Nigeria, adolescents ages 16–20 accounted for 29% of all unsafe abortions (the highest for any age group). 45 Two studies in Kenya and Malawi showed that adolescents were between 2 and 3.5 times more likely to experience mechanical injuries due to abortion than women in older groups (significant findings in each case). 26 , 46 In Cote d’Ivoire, complications among adolescents (11–19 years) were significantly associated with either self-induced abortions or abortions performed by traditional healers. 38 In Nigeria and South Africa, abortion was a leading cause of death among adolescents under the age of 19. 35 , 41 In Mexico, younger adolescents had a considerably lower rate of hospitalisation due to abortion when compared to older adolescents (0.3 vs 7.6 per 1,000 girls, respectively). 28

A South African study of comparative rates of death, or complications due to abortion, found that despite the high rates of abortion among adolescents, adolescents are not at an increased risk of death as compared to women in older groups. 47 An analysis of secondary data in Ethiopia also showed no increased risk of complications for 15–19-year-olds compared to older women. 23 However, Aung et. Al, in Thailand, found that when compared to older age groups, adolescents ages 10–19 had the highest burden of non-fatal morbidity due to complications from unsafe abortion. 21

Psycho-social outcomes of abortion

Five studies in this review touched on the psychosocial outcomes (i.e., depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc.) of the abortion process on adolescent girls. In Uganda, Zambia and South Africa, young girls who experienced abortion (specifically unmarried girls) describe facing rejection or denial of paternity by partners during pregnancy, being afraid of bringing shame to their families and fearing stigma from being pregnant out of wedlock. In some cases, particularly among younger adolescents, the pregnancy itself may be a result of rape or incest, which further complicates psychosocial outcomes for girls. 29 , 30 , 34 In Malawi, girls ages 14–19 reported a great deal of psychological distress prior to abortion due to fear of parents discovering the pregnancy, being forced to leave school, judgement for an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and abuse from providers, all of which contributed to delay in care-seeking. After the abortion, girls reported feelings of guilt stemming from their religious beliefs and grief around the loss of the child (which they may have kept under better circumstances). 43 In Guadeloupe, 43.3% of girls reported psychological problems linked to abortion, mainly due to distress over the deterioration of their relationship with their parents. 31

This review highlights a number of important areas of abortion care that are specific to adolescents, and some differences between adolescents ages 10–14 and other age cohorts. Results show that girls aged 10–14 differ from older cohorts in that they are less accepting of abortion, they have a higher ratio of abortion (both safe and unsafe), and they are more likely to experience pregnancy leading to abortion as a result of rape or incest than older adolescents. Distinctions in younger versus older adolescent knowledge of abortion legality are not clear, as the two studies in Nigeria and Brazil gave conflicting results in the level of knowledge between the two cohorts.

Adolescents give a number of reasons for seeking an abortion, primary among them being their desire to continue their studies or to protect their future prospects from the burdens of early motherhood. This is particularly true among younger adolescents, many of whom are not married and are still attending school full time. Other common reasons include the shame and stigma of teen pregnancy/motherhood, poverty and pressure from their families. In the case of younger adolescents, the pregnancy is likely due to rape, incest or transactional sex, which further motivates a pregnancy termination. These reflect many of the same reasons that women around the world give for seeking an abortion; the main difference being that older women emphasise limiting childbearing as the main motivation for abortion. 48

When compared to older cohorts of women, adolescents consistently tend to delay an abortion into the second trimester, due to fear and shame around the pregnancy, limited knowledge of and access to safe abortion services, delayed recognition of pregnancy status, and fear of health providers. When adolescents do eventually attempt an abortion, the majority try to self-induce with ingested herbal/chemical concoctions or insertion of objects into the vagina, or by seeing traditional healers. Adolescents’ knowledge, resources and mobility to access health care are more limited compared to cohorts of older women; these reasons have been shown to limit general healthcare-seeking behaviour among adolescents, in particular around sexual and reproductive health needs (i.e. contraceptives, antenatal care, etc.), and exacerbate delays in seeking abortion care. 49–51

Adolescents cite strong provider bias and lack of privacy and confidentiality by formal health care workers as the main reasons why they do not seek care from formal health providers. 52 Studies of providers have shown that they can be judgmental, openly hostile or even deny care to adolescent girls seeking abortions. 53 , 54 Furthermore, providers, even those trained in youth-friendly services, may not be protecting girls’ privacy and confidentiality to the extent necessary. These barriers echo those commonly cited in the context of general adolescent sexual and reproductive health care and point to a pattern of bias against girls seeking any type of sexual health care. 55

Although adolescent girls comprise a disproportionate number of women seeking unsafe abortions, they do not necessarily suffer higher rates of complications or maternal mortality than older women. In some of the studies reviewed here, there was evidence of significantly higher rates of mechanical injury (i.e. cut or perforation) among adolescents than among older cohorts, but there were no significant differences in maternal mortality between these groups. However, complications stemming from unsafe abortion are one of the leading causes of death among adolescent girls in LMIC, which may be due to the fact that adolescents tend to delay abortion care until the second trimester. 1

There are several limitations to this review, which should be noted when using the results. First, out of the 208 prospective articles, we were only able to locate 131 full-text versions for review due to resource constraints. This may present bias in the findings due to the omission of 77 potential articles. Furthermore, this review examines findings from a variety of LMIC; however, adolescents in each context have unique personal, social or environmental characteristics that determine their abortion experience. While this review provides a global overview of abortion among adolescents, it is not generalisable to all settings.

There are several ways to improve the delivery of care and knowledge to adolescents, particularly 10–14-year-olds. This group is typically still enrolled in school, which provides a promising entry point for education on and access to safe abortion knowledge and services. Although the subject of abortion may be taboo in some contexts, comprehensive sexual education has been shown to have positive outcomes on youth sexual behaviour, including delaying sex and using contraceptives in some countries, both of which could reduce the risk of unsafe abortion. 56 As adolescents are subject to parental control, interventions aimed at very young adolescents must recognise the role of the parents in abortion decision-making and work to reduce barriers to communication within the child–parent dyad. 57

Pregnancy among 10–14-year-olds is likely due to rape, incest or coerced transactional sex. Implementers and providers must recognise the added trauma of sexual violence that a girl may face and ensure that they are not only receiving adequate and appropriate abortion care but that the underlying sexual violence is also addressed. Trauma-informed care and counselling must also adjust for the fact that for girls, the perpetrator may be her accompanying adult or immediate caregiver. 58 Furthermore, even though adolescents are not at greater risk of psychosocial maladjustment following abortion, the event may still be emotionally significant and require sensitive care. 59 Providers of abortion care may require more intensive training and patient-centred feedback is needed as part of the follow-up performance improvement loop to overcome biases against adolescent patients.


This review highlights several aspects of abortion programming and policy planning for adolescent girls. Many adolescents lack basic knowledge of puberty or sexual and reproductive health, which increases their chances of missing signs of pregnancy and delaying abortion until the second trimester. 5 Sexuality education that is comprehensive and that provides information on puberty and pregnancy, is essential.

Only a handful of the almost 800 studies screened for this paper either focused on or segmented data by adolescents ages 10–14. Researchers should include 10–14-year-olds as a focus of sexual health and abortion studies, examining the types of information and support needed by this group and the most effective ways in which to deliver services, given their unique constellation of issues.

Adolescent girls experience abortion differently than older women and have specific needs for and obstacles to seeking abortion care. By emphasising the unique experiences of these sub-groups of abortion patients, this review may enable programmers and practitioners to build more inclusive, thoughtful and responsive abortion care for the most vulnerable populations around the world.

† The authors are fluent in these three languages and included them in the search to maximise inclusion of articles from low- and middle-income countries.

Abortion Bans Are Causing Students To Radically Rethink Their College Plans

Young women across the country weigh their options against a quickly changing access landscape.

college sweatshirt

Anna swivels from side to side in her plush black desk chair. The afternoon sunlight streams into the room from a big window beside her. It’s spring in Charlotte, North Carolina, and track practice has just let out. There are only a few short weeks left of high school, then she’s finished with childhood forever.

“I started the college process kind of late,” Anna says, dark hair framing her face, big headphones over her ears. She started her college application list last summer, right around the time the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which had made abortion legal across the U.S. for five decades.

Anna always dreamed of the “classic college experience”—going to a big school with a football team and an abundance of school spirit. Her main sources of college information came from her dad, her friends, and what she saw online. “Should I apply to Auburn?” Anna asked her dad one day. “A lot of my friends are.”

Instead of answering directly, he asked if she wanted to spend her college years in a red state. “He was like, ‘You’re a woman; they don’t like you.’ And I was like, ‘Okay. Hyperbolic, but fair enough.’”

The college decision process has always been complex and emotional. High school seniors ask themselves, ‘Can I afford tuition? Will I fit in and be happy? How far from home is it? What does my college say about me?’ And now, for the first time in two generations, young women are making these decisions in a world where access to reproductive health care is not guaranteed.

This spring, in a case that might have potentially made the abortion pill mifepristone illegal, the Supreme Court instead issued a stay on a lower-court ruling, allowing the drug to remain legal and available. The SCOTUS ruling also kicked the case back to a lower appeals court.

Pregnant people in red states aren’t the only ones affected. Roe ’s overturning has had far-reaching effects across the country, influencing national politics, life , love , art , career, and education decisions.

While a college’s prestige, tuition, and acceptance rates remain the dominant factors in applicants’ decision-making process, abortion access is now a consideration as well. Young women must imagine what their lives might look like in a state where they may not have total bodily autonomy. For many, choosing a college is their first big, life-altering decision. And for some, that decision is now more complicated.

Women’s Health talked to three young women from different backgrounds who are considering their college choices, and to experts, college admissions officers, and activists as well to find out how Roe ’s overturning has changed the higher education application process.

Students care about abortion access when choosing their college, research shows.

“Students are not only deciding, ‘Can I afford to go to this college?’” says Leslie Rios, a policy associate at Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. “They also have to think about which basic health services will be available, what right to privacy they might have when choosing what’s best for their body, as well as if they feel safe at the college.”

It’s still too soon to know how heavily abortion access weighs on students’ college decisions, Rios says, but some studies provide insights.

Nearly 75 percent of currently enrolled college students said reproductive health laws in their college’s state are at least somewhat important in their decision to stay enrolled, and 60 percent of people without a degree yet say these laws are at least somewhat important in their enrollment decisions, according to an April 2023 Gallup Poll . More than 80 percent of college students and college hopefuls say they would prefer going to school in a state with greater access to reproductive health services.

Last summer, just after Roe was overturned, an Intelligent poll found that 45 percent of students were considering or planning to transfer to an abortion-friendly state, and 20 percent of students in states where abortion was now illegal, or at risk of becoming so, “definitely” planned to transfer.

The survey questions’ framing is important. “I don’t know the extent to which [the responses will] actually, practically have meaningful shifts,” says Kristen Jozkowski, professor in sexual health and principal investigator for the Indiana Abortion Attitudes Study. Just because someone says abortion is important to their decision doesn’t mean they’ll act on it. But ​​attitude does influence behavior, Jozkowski says.

“Never underestimate the sophistication of an 18-year-old,” says Nanci Tessier, principal at Art & Science Group , a consulting firm for higher educational institutions, nonprofits, and independent schools. “They think about big questions and big issues that relate to not only themselves as an individual, but also to their world at large.”

States’ constantly changing and complicated rulings on abortion over the past 12 months have been hard to keep track of and confusing. But young people are paying attention, and they’re talking about it. They’re also aware that how a state deals with abortion can be a bellwether for other hot-topic issues: gun control, transgender rights, the status of queer people, and more.

college doors closing

On Reddit, a forum on “college admissions questions, advice and discussions,” r/ApplyingToCollege , is 1 million members strong, and questions around abortion access’s impact on college choice are common. In the “important links” section threads, a link for “The End of Roe v. Wade and What it Means for Your Application Process” sits near “Decision Calendar” and “Questions About AP Scores.” It includes resources for updated state restrictions, a color-coded map, and a deep comments thread.

“I’m in Kansas but I had fully intended on changing my university if they voted to ban abortions,” one user wrote. “I live in the South and it’s too late unless I transfer. But for grad school I’m out of here :>,” wrote another. “Indiana off the list,” a third commented, to which users responded, “Yeah, even I ditched Purdue,” while another commenter wrote, “I refuse to go below Maryland.”

These surveys and Reddit comments play out in real time too. Alex McNeil, one of the Reddit forum’s moderators, runs a private college consulting company in the Bay Area and has been helping families across the country research schools. These days, that might include having a frank conversation about a state’s legislative environment.

“We are having discussions with students who have shifted their admissions plans based around these issues that we’ve never had before,” he says. McNeil estimates about a quarter of clients who identified as women “changed their process” based on legislation, deciding, for example, not to apply to schools in Ohio, such as Kenyon and Oberlin.

Lina, an 18-year-old senior living in Austria, dreamed of going to school in America since she was a little girl. “It’s all I ever wanted,” she says. “​​But you grow up a little bit and you realize that’s not the way it is. There’s so much more to it than Pop-Tarts and American Girl dolls.”

Since ninth grade, she’s been envisioning herself at Savannah College of Art and Design, where she hoped to study film. But Lina, who is gay, ultimately decided against going to school in Georgia because of the regressive attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community and abortion laws. She needed to be in a state that would protect her and other people’s right to an abortion, “no matter the reason,” she says. Instead, she’ll start her American adventure in Chicago this fall.

Advocates for Youth , a group that helps young people promote sexual health and equity, saw membership in its newly created Youth Abortion Support Collective boom since launching in 2020. The group is a network of young people who are experts on abortion resources and options. The roughly 100 to 150 original members now number over 1,000, according to Tamara Marzouk, the director of Abortion Access at Advocates for Youth . “This is a moment where we’re seeing that young people are angry,” she said. “And they’re also catalyzed to act.”

Geography has always played a role in college choice.

But that criteria was usually discussed in relation to travel distance and costs. Today, “geography” often doubles as shorthand for political and social climate.

“We’ve had conversations like, ‘Okay, you’re interested in Northwestern and Boston College. What do you think about Tulane or Duke, or what about Vanderbilt or Rice University?’” McNeil says. “Those schools have been ruled out because they’re in states that have very regressive legislative climates for reproductive rights and for abortion specifically.”

In Austria, Lina realized her college decision couldn’t be based solely on education. “You’re going to be there for at least the next four years, if not the rest of your life,” she says. “And even though you may be accepted and supported and acknowledged in your educational environment, that may not always be the case outside [of it].”

Last October, Ava, an 18-year-old from New Jersey, sat down to answer a college essay question for the University of Texas at Austin, her “dream school.” She decided to write about abortion. “I didn’t really want to steer away from [the topic],” she says. “So I just wrote about it.”

The Dobbs decision came down only a few weeks after junior year wrapped at Ava’s public high school. That spring, she had taken a government class in which students learned about Roe v. Wade . And as friends finalized college lists, reproductive health care became part of the conversation. Ava would hear friends say, “My mom wouldn’t let me go there,” or “My parents don’t want me to apply.”

The UT essay made Ava pause to reflect on state policies. Currently, Texas bans abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest, and abortion providers can be sued for assisting in abortions after week six. Her list of 12 to 14 schools (she wanted to go to a big school with a strong political science department) were mostly in the North, but she included schools in Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia too. She later toured Cornell University, an Ivy League college in Ithaca, New York, fell in love with it, and applied early. But she kept schools like UT on her list.

In December of 2022, Ava received her acceptance to Cornell and quickly withdrew her other applications.

“I feel pretty sad for everyone,” Ava reflects, noting that the men in her class didn’t seem to bear the same burden. “[It’s] very unfortunate. We really have to take into consideration basic health care...A choice was kind of made for us.”

In Charlotte, Anna says Roe and abortion bans were a big topic of conversation among her friends. Several got into schools in states like Georgia, but if they were accepted to another school, some opted out, concerned about their status as a woman, she says. (Georgia has a six-week abortion ban, and in March, the state banned most gender-affirming procedures and hormone-replacement therapies for transgender people under 18.) While abortion access wasn’t the main factor in their final college decision, Anna explains, it definitely played a role.

“Up until last year, we had landmark legislation saying ‘privacy is a right and a woman has that right,’” she explains. “And it was the fundamental betrayal of those kinds of ideals—that I held, and I thought other people held—that made me realize, if they’re willing to cross that line, I don’t want to be in that state for the next four years to see which other ones [they cross].”

The week after Anna spoke to Women’s Health , North Carolina, which previously allowed abortion up to 20 weeks, passed a 12-week abortion ban. Anna had been tracking the bill and wasn’t surprised by the outcome. “I just feel a bit helpless,” she wrote in an email. The ban goes into effect in July.

choice license plate

It’s still too early to see hard data on how college enrollment patterns have changed.

It’s difficult to get an accurate numerical snapshot of how Roe ’s overturning affects young women’s final decisions, because many factors affect enrollment numbers, including the pandemic, population growth in some states, and declining birth rates in others.

While overall college enrollment has declined across the U.S. since the pandemic, the toll on women seems to be heaviest.

Community colleges have seen an almost 5 percent enrollment decline for women, with public four-year institutions clocking a post-pandemic decline of almost 2 percent, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC), a nonprofit that provides educational reporting, verification, and research services to colleges and universities.

“Women enroll at higher rates in higher education, and so when you see these losses, it’s kind of stark,” says Shannon Lee, one of the center’s research associates. NSCRC does not collect data on how reproductive health laws play a role in college decisions. To explain this shift, Lee points to the economic burden of college, a higher demand for jobs that don’t necessarily require a college degree, and caregiving responsibilities as the main reasons women’s enrollment may have been affected.

As for Anna, her college decision came down to tuition. Despite careful consideration of how restricted access to reproductive health care might affect her, college cost was the deciding factor, and she picked the more affordable option. Anna proudly points to her Tar Heel T-shirt over Zoom.

“If I had the money to afford it, I would be going out of state,” she says. Instead, this fall, she will be going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “As excited as I am, and I am very excited, I did not want to stay in North Carolina for the next four years.”

State leaders and reproductive rights advocates are worried about the impact abortion bans will have on communities.

It’s no secret that restrictive abortion legislation disproportionately affects marginalized groups, including Black, brown, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, and low-income communities who already face hurdles with health care access, Rios says.

And while students from middle-class families might be able to fly home or organize transportation for an abortion, it’s students who are attending community colleges for cost reasons who will suffer most, adds Mary Banks, a former Columbia University admissions officer and a consultant at Quad Education Group, a college admissions consulting company.

Add that to the statistic that roughly 61 percent of women who have children after enrolling in community college drop out, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and you’ve got a perfect storm. “That’s an astonishing figure for kids who are trying to get through school,” Banks says.

And it’s not just education that’s lost. A state’s business, culture, art, and industry sectors can suffer too. If students do, in fact, start to reject college offers in places with restrictive health laws, it could affect those states in big ways. Half of recent grads stick around to work near their college campus after graduation, and over two-thirds stay in state, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research . One of the study’s authors, Johnathan G. Conzelmann, a graduate research consultant at UNC Chapel Hill, speculates that “areas less likely to protect reproductive rights could become more insular over time.”

Tennessee State Senator Heidi Campbell (D) is “very concerned” about brain drain in her state. Currently, Tennessee has a no-exception, total abortion ban. The governor signed a new bill in April that provides exemptions for ectopic and other nonviable pregnancies and allows abortions if a woman’s life is at risk.

“We’re losing ob-gyns and we’re losing academics,” Campbell says. In fact, states banning abortions saw a “steep” 10.5 percent drop in obstetrics and gynecology residency applications in 2023, according to an April study from the Association of American Medical Colleges . That has potential long-term effects on doctor availability in the South and Midwest, since many stay to work where they’re trained.

And this is also where the story hits home for me.

Just before the Republican-majority legislature voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s abortion ban veto in North Carolina, my best friend, Carson, a current student at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, a top medical school in the country, sat in her apartment and desperately began calling legislators from our home state. “I’m actually panicking,” she texted me.

Ever since she was an 18-year-old college freshman, Carson has talked about working as a doctor in North Carolina, serving the communities that raised and nurtured her. And she wants to eventually live closer to family. Carson plans to apply to ob-gyn residency programs next year—UNC and Duke University are at the top of her list. She says that both schools have fantastic programs, and has heard glowing reports from attendings and residents at NYU about the two Carolina institutions.

But Carson says she can’t train with restrictions—she can’t risk losing essential high-risk pregnancy counseling and care training. Right now, many residency programs in states banning abortion face a tough paradox: If they continue providing abortion training, they might face prosecution, but if they don’t offer proper abortion training, they could lose their accreditation status, per The New York Times . (Losing accreditation would make it hard to recruit staff and would block residents from obtaining specialty board certification.)

“Applying and matching to a residency program is hard enough. I wish this wasn’t even a factor I had to consider,” she texted as soon as the news came down. Carson hasn’t officially crossed the schools off her list yet, but the news made her heart sink. The new law makes her “exponentially less excited” about her options in North Carolina, she says.

Sen. Campbell’s own daughter is a high school senior, but the lawmaker wants her out of Tennessee for college.

“I don’t want her to be in a state where she doesn’t have reproductive rights,” Sen. Campbell says. “I don’t want my daughter to be in school in a state where she feels diminished, and she was in agreement with that.”

But despite the chaos and confusion, life must go on for these young women. Lina dreams of directing a SuperBowl commercial. Ava is ready to dive into public policy. And come August, Anna will pack up her life and make a two-hour drive to set up her new dorm room in Chapel Hill. They will persist in getting an education and making their mark on the world, carrying their concerns with them.

“We’re all teenage girls, so this affects us,” Anna explains. “You hear of things that happen at colleges, happen at frats, and there’s fear.”

Currie Engel is the news and features editor at Women's Health. She loves working on zeitgeisty news, culture, mental health, and reproductive rights stories. When she's not editing stories, she's writing them—one of her essays was recognized as a National Magazine Award finalist in 2023. Currie previously worked as an award-winning local reporter specializing in health investigations and features, and as a researcher at Time magazine.  

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After Abortion Ruling, School Nurses See Tough Conversations Ahead

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School nurses are bracing for the hard conversations they may have to have with adolescent students now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling on women’s right to an abortion. But those conversations could look very different in different states .

Lisa Ann Kern, a retired school nurse, who currently serves as the director for the Florida Association of School Nurses , said many teenage students turn to school nurses for questions about their sexuality, whether they are sexually active or not.

“We would always point students in the right direction, helping them with those kinds of issues,” she said. “Depending upon the student’s age, we would always give them some time [and] give them resources to go to the health department, and a local health department would assist them with reproductive care.”

Kern predicted the overturning of Roe will, in most cases, hamper the work school nurses do.

“I just think that it’s going to be more difficult for school nurses to provide that counseling service to students, no matter where they are, especially more so in states where [abortion] access is currently being denied,” she said.

In Florida, where a ban on abortions after 15 weeks was recently reinstated, the procedure for getting an early abortion includes the requirement for parental consent if a woman is under 18, and a legal requirement for women of any age to get an ultrasound before the abortion, Kern said.

Currently, abortion is illegal in most cases in nine states, and 13 states have trigger laws which would ban abortion in most instances, when Roe v. Wade was overturned. But it’s not yet clear how many states have separate restrictions in place that would limit what school staff can say to young people on that subject.

Janis Hogan, who worked as a school nurse for 22 years at Camden Hills Regional High School in Maine and currently serves as the state’s director for the National Association of School Nurses, feels fortunate her state still has access to abortion care and comprehensive sex education, but harbors similar fears about the implications of the reversal on the work of school nurses.

“I think school nurses will be limited in those states that have laws that prevent discussion. Their hands will be tied , and students will have very limited options within their own state,” Hogan said. "[Students] may have the option to go to another state , but we know that teens don’t have that kind of access and they don’t have the money ... to seek care.”

She worries this may lead to people opting for unsafe abortions, especially when they’re part of communities that face additional barriers to reproductive care, such as adolescents, people of color, people in rural communities, and low-income groups.

Focus grows on abortion alternatives

But some national nursing and anti-abortion groups said the Supreme Court’s decision last month in Dobbs v . Jackson Women’s Health Organization presents an opportunity for nurses, including those in schools, to talk about alternatives to abortion, such as adoption.

One of those groups is the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, which has launched a “Shout Your Adoption” campaign where people were encouraged to share their stories of adopting a child or being adopted, to present adoption as “the best alternative to abortion,” according to its mission statement.

“School [nurses] and counselors must be aware of all options, including crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes, adoption and organizations like Birthright offering baby formula, clothing, etc., in order to provide good advice,” said NAPN spokesperson Nancy Valko, a registered nurse and advanced legal nurse consultant.

Schools could also make students aware of the accommodations they are entitled to receive under the federal Title IX law, should they decide to continue their education through an unplanned pregnancy, said Camille Cisneros, national supportive services director at Students for Life. She runs an initiative called Standing With You that supports women through their pregnancy.

“You can still attend school while being a parent, and there are accommodations your teachers are actually required to provide for you through Title IX,” she said, “if a student has to miss class or a day on campus due to anything related to her pregnancy or parenting status, the campus is required to be able to accommodate and allow her to make up any work that she missed.”

There’s a large variety of ways pregnant students can be accommodated in schools according to Cisneros, from providing comfortable desks to sit in to allowing time for students to breast pump or nurse, if needed.

Need grows for comprehensive sex education

Several other groups, however, said the court’s decision heightens the need for students to have access to sex education to prevent unplanned pregnancies from occurring in the first place.

“It just becomes more important than ever that we are focusing on comprehensive sex education that not only gives people the tools to navigate healthy relationships, but specifically gives them the tools to prevent an unplanned pregnancy,” said Christina Clark, the executive director of the Alabama Campaign for Sexual Health.

Alabama is one of the states that already had some of the most stringent abortion restrictions in place, with a 2019 ban on all abortions from the time of conception, barring pregnancies posing a serious threat to the mother’s life.

But the state also does not legally mandate sexual health education, according to Clark. If sex education is taught, the law says, it has to emphasize abstinence, but should also include the use of contraception and condoms.

“Unfortunately, what we see in practice is that there’s a huge emphasis on abstinence and not so much information about condoms and contraception,” Clark said. That’s because many schools believe that Alabama has an abstinence-only law, even though that is not the case, said Clark.

“What we are concerned about happening is that there’s no legal access to abortion and there’s also no prevention of an unplanned pregnancy,” she said.

While as many as 39 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex and/or HIV education, only 17 states “require program content to be medically accurate,” according to the Gut t macher Institute , which supports sexual and reproductive rights.

The institute found that 39 states and the District of Columbia require abstinence to be part of the curriculum, while 20 states and the District of Columbia require information on contraception to be taught. In 36 states and the District of Columbia, parents are also given the right to pull their child out from instruction if they wish to do so.

Illustration of various contraceptive methods.

According to Leah Jacobson, CEO and founder of the Guiding Star Project, a network of women’s health and family-planning centers, “You need to know how your own body works, before you start to put it with another body, before you add a variable of intercourse and the potential for reproduction. And we’ve skipped that step,” she said.

With or without Roe in place, basic fertility awareness is something students need to be taught early, Jacobson said.

“This is medical information ... anything regarding menstrual cycles, fertility, cervical fluid, all that stuff. These are not shameful things. We need to destigmatize how our bodies work,” she said.

Clark pointed out that without proper education, high schoolers may have many misconceptions about sex.

“What you’re going to run into is young people not knowing how their bodies work, how they get pregnant. Maybe they think they can’t get pregnant the first time, or a condom breaks, so many things can happen , and then they don’t have an option to not have a child,” she said.

With a lack of comprehensive sex education, students don’t just face the challenges of unplanned pregnancies but also of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“In Alabama, we have among the highest STI rates [in the country] and young people 20 to 29 have very high HIV rates,” Clark said. “If we can catch them in high school, teaching them about ways to prevent not only unplanned pregnancy, but STIs and HIV, then we can be preventing those into young adulthood as well.”

Teens already face barriers to abortion

Young people may also face other challenges such as a lack of confidentiality and unsupportive parents, according to Rachel Fey, vice president of policy and strategic partnerships at Power to Decide, a nonprofit aimed at preventing teenage pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among young adults.

She also noted that many states have laws requiring parental notification when it comes to abortion care.

According to the Gut t macher Institute , 37 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to get an abortion. Only two states and the District of Columbia provide all individuals, regardless of age, the right to consent to abortion.

“If the young person has valid concerns about their safety in notifying their parents, they have to navigate a really obtuse judicial bypass process,” Fey said. “And now we see all these additional barriers being put in place by them having to navigate bans and potentially have to try and travel out pf state for care.”

In Maine, students 15 and above are not required to get parental consent for abortions and can approach school nurses for help if needed, said Hogan, the director of that state’s school nurses’ group.

Her fear is that in states across the country where abortions will be hard to access, the rate of unintended teenage pregnancies will sharply increase, with students unable to access care in case they do not want to have that pregnancy.

“We have over 12 million teens in this country that are over the age of 15 ... and of those, 40 percent is the most recent statistic of how many of those students are sexually active,” Hogan said.

So what advice can be given to students in states where reproductive options available to teenage students who face unplanned pregnancies are limited?

“As a health-care professional within a school, I would try to counsel those students on what their options are within their state and within the laws of their state,” Hogan said.

She said she had many teens come to her over the years, whom she referred to the local Planned Parenthood and many times helped them access transport to get to the facility.

“It is imperative that students have that information and can be guided,” she said. “[Many] can’t look to their parents, [so] they look to school nurses and look to school counselors, and I am ready with that information for my students.”

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The Editorial Board

The Persistent Threat to Abortion Rights

An illustration of a woman lifting a huge mifepristone pill on her back.

By The Editorial Board

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values . It is separate from the newsroom.

The Supreme Court this week heard the first major challenge to abortion rights since it struck down Roe v. Wade two years ago — an attempt to severely limit access to mifepristone, the most commonly used abortion pill in the country, by a group of doctors who are morally opposed to the practice.

The justices seem prepared to throw out the lawsuit. During oral arguments, they questioned whether the doctors had suffered the harm necessary to bring the suit in the first place.

But that should come as small comfort to anyone concerned for the future of reproductive freedom in America. Judges at the state and federal levels are ready to further restrict reproductive options and health care access. The presumptive Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, has indicated support for a 15-week national abortion ban. And while the Supreme Court, in overturning Roe, ostensibly left it to each state to decide abortion policy, several states have gone against the will of their voters on abortion or tried to block ballot measures that would protect abortion rights. Anti-abortion forces may have had a tough week in the Supreme Court, but they remain focused on playing and winning a longer game.

Even potential victories for reproductive freedom may prove short-lived: The mifepristone case, for instance, is far from dead. Another plaintiff could bring the same case and have it considered on the merits, a possibility Justice Samuel Alito raised during oral arguments.

“Is there anybody who could challenge in court the lawfulness of what the F.D.A. did here?” he asked the solicitor general, Elizabeth Prelogar. Such a challenge would be exceptionally weak, given that the F.D.A. provided substantial support for its approval and regulatory guidance on the use of mifepristone, but the right-wing justices on the Roberts court may be willing to hear it again anyway. The justices have already illustrated their hostility to the authority of administrative agencies, and that hostility may persist even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence.

Then there is the Comstock Act, a 151-year-old federal law that anti-abortion activists are trying to revive to block the mailing of mifepristone and other abortion medication. During the oral arguments this week, Justices Alito and Clarence Thomas repeatedly expressed their openness to the use of the law, which was pushed by an anti-vice crusader decades before women won the right to vote. If anti-abortion activists can get themselves before a sympathetic court and secure a national injunction on this medication being mailed, they may well be able to block access to abortion throughout the country, including in states where it is legal.

However the mifepristone case turns out, the threats to reproductive rights the justices unleashed by overturning Roe go much further.

The anti-abortion movement is pursuing its aims on many legal fronts. One focus of intense activity is so-called fetal-personhood laws , which endow fetuses (and, in some cases, even fertilized eggs) with the same legal rights as living, breathing human beings. Last month, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization were to be protected as “extrauterine children,” relying in part on an 1872 state law. That sent lawmakers in Alabama scrambling to protect a procedure that is highly popular among Republicans and Democrats alike. Three weeks after the court ruling, they passed a law protecting patients and doctors who perform I.V.F. procedures from legal liability.

Fetal-personhood laws can also be used to target access to birth control, embryonic stem cell research and even women who suffer miscarriages.

In eliminating a woman’s constitutional right to choose what happens in her own body, the Supreme Court claimed to be respecting the democratic process by allowing state legislatures to determine whether abortion should be legal and what, if any, limits should be placed on it. Roe v. Wade had been “egregiously wrong” to wrest a fraught public debate from the American public, Justice Alito wrote in the majority opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health in 2022. It was “time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Instead of being settled at the state level, less than two years since the Dobbs ruling, the issue of abortion has returned to the court and is likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The Dobbs ruling has forced a new public debate on abortion and galvanized Americans’ support for it, which has been strong for decades. Since 1975, a majority of Americans have supported legal abortion in some or all cases, according to polling by Gallup , and that support has increased slightly since Dobbs. The percentage of Americans who think abortion should be illegal in all cases has gone down.

Since Roe was overturned in 2022, in every state where reproductive rights have been on the ballot, from Vermont to Kentucky, the abortion rights side has won . This past Tuesday, the same day that the court heard the mifepristone case, voters in Alabama elected to the state legislature a Democrat who ran on a platform of protecting access to abortion and I.V.F. The candidate, Marilyn Lands, lost her race in 2022 by seven points; she won this week by 25 points.

There are limits to the state-by-state approach when it comes to protecting bodily autonomy. Some states don’t allow ballot initiatives of the type that have led to abortion rights victories elsewhere. In Ohio and other states, lawmakers have sought to block or overturn attempts by voters to protect abortion rights, and anti-abortion lawmakers in several states have sought to prosecute anyone who helps a woman travel to another state to get an abortion.

In short, there is no silver bullet for reproductive rights. The judiciary is no haven, not as long as the current Supreme Court majority holds; state and lower federal courts aren’t much better, going by the Alabama I.V.F. ruling and the decisions that pushed the mifepristone case to the Supreme Court. At the same time, voter support for reproductive rights won’t make a difference if they can’t use ballot measures to make that support known.

That is why any successful strategy to protect or restore abortion rights must understand reproductive rights and representative democracy as inextricably linked.

That means understanding the stakes of the elections in November. If Mr. Trump’s party wins solid control of the House and Senate, this could put Americans’ reproductive rights at further risk, especially if Republicans first decide to do away with the filibuster. That would lower the threshold for passing legislation such as a 15-week abortion ban , which Mr. Trump seems likely to support .

Voters will be faced with a stark choice: the choice of whether to protect not just reproductive rights but true equality for women.

Source photograph by Getty Images.

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After pro-abortion rights essay draws ire, Jesuit high school retracts student magazine issue

Kevin J. Jones

January 11, 2022 Catholic News Agency News Briefs 3 Print

high school essay on abortion

Denver, Colo., Jan 11, 2022 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

Leadership at a Denver-area Catholic high school retracted an entire issue of a quarterly student magazine after a student’s “deeply troubling” pro-abortion rights essay drew criticism and concern from several parents and the local archbishop.

The student essayist seemed to argue that the unborn child is not a human life and explicitly compared the fetus in the early stages of development to a “common tulip.”

In response, the Jesuit school’s leadership said the essay published without proper guidance. In addition, two faculty advisors for the newspaper no longer work at the school.

“An opinion piece that presented a stance on abortion clearly in opposition to Catholic Church teaching was included in the winter issue of the student-produced magazine that we found both deeply troubling and unacceptable,” Regis Jesuit High School president David Card said in a Jan. 10 statement to CNA.

“First, we want to be clear that as a Catholic, Jesuit institution we believe that life begins at the moment of conception. In this instance, we failed our students in providing proper guidance in how to consider matters involving our firmly held beliefs, especially those upholding the dignity of human life,” Card said. “While we believe in providing an avenue for student expression, we are taking steps now to consider the magazine’s editorial process to ensure its compatibility with and responsibility in representing the mission of Regis Jesuit.”

Card’s statement largely repeated the Dec. 17 letter he and principal Jimmy Tricco published online in place of the electronic version of the quarterly student magazine Elevate’s winter issue.

That letter retracted the issue in its entirety. In discussing the beginning of life at conception, Card and Tricco said: “We believe that protection of life at this stage represents the foundational requirement of respecting the dignity of human life at every stage. We are fully invested in disseminating and defending this and all Church teaching in all that we do.”

The student essay “The Battle for Out [sic] Bodies” contained factual errors, including the claim that Congress, not the U.S. Supreme Court, legalized abortion in the early 1970s. The essay claimed the unborn child before the sixth week of pregnancy has “the same mental capacity and cell organism complexity as a common tulip.”

“The basic human right of choice is at risk due to the lack of trust and faith towards abortion clinics and procedures,” said the author.

“Some say that having an abortion is a form of murder, but there is a difference between a baby and a fetus,” said the essay. “A baby is a living human, whereas a fetus is an organism inside of a woman’s womb that grows during pregnancy until it becomes a baby.”

To make abortion illegal would encourage “illegal and unsafe” abortions, and risk even more lives instead of saving them, the essay said.

“Even though it may be frowned upon in many communities, it is a procedure that many women go through,” the essay continued. The author advocated access to contraception, sex education, and family planning services “instead of changing the laws and creating a pseudo-religious government to rule over women.”

“Religious beliefs of other people should never interfere with a person’s choice,” the essay said.

Regis Jesuit High School, in the eastern Denver suburb of Aurora, offers single-sex instruction in both a boy’s and a girl’s divisions, with almost 1,700 students combined. About 1 in 3 students receive need-based financial aid, though tuition is over $19,000 per year.

The Archdiocese of Denver provided to CNA a Dec. 23 letter from Archbishop Samuel Aquila about the controversy.

Aquila said many families reached out to him to voice their “deep concerns” about the essay. He said he was “deeply troubled” that an essay advocating a position “in direct contradiction to the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life” was allowed to be published in a Catholic school.

He described abortion and euthanasia as “the preeminent issues for the Catholic Church today.” Aquila cited Pope Francis’ own description of abortion as “an absolute evil.” He added that it is his duty as Archbishop of Denver to ensure that Catholic institutions in the archdiocese are faithful to Church teachings.

“I am grateful that the leadership of Regis Jesuit High School promptly retracted the article and addressed this situation recognizing the failure that took place in allowing this article to be published,” he said.

Aquila welcomed the high school leadership’s commitment to defending Church teaching. He said he deeply desires to support this and has asked his staff to help them ensure there is “deeply faithful Catholic formation” for all students, faculty, and staff.

“Catholic schools exist to be sanctuaries of education where students can come to encounter Jesus, be transformed by a relationship with him, grow in wisdom and virtue, and discover their call for their lives as young men and women created in God’s image and likeness,” the archbishop said.

It is “vital” to understand this mission for Christians “in a time where moral relativism has consumed our society and culture, and where to proclaim truth is considered oppressive and bigoted.”

“Knowing truth leads to true freedom and human flourishing because it leads to Jesus, he who rescues us and gives us the fullness of abundant life,” Aquila said.

According to the archbishop, Catholic schools “must be fully pro-life institutions” and need to defend the sanctity of human life and to form students to help free them from “the culture of death that pervades our world today.”

“As such, faculty and staff of Catholic schools must be pro-life,” he said. Faithful Catholic schools need to be led by faithful educators “in love with Jesus Christ and his Church”, who witness to the truth of the Gospel.

Both faculty advisors for the Regis Jesuit publication confirmed to the Aurora-based newspaper Sentinel Colorado that they no longer work at the school.

One of the advisors, Nicole Arduini, told the Denver Post she was let go after the column was published.

“I am saddened about the situation,” she said. “I enjoyed teaching student journalism and am proud to have worked with an amazing group of young journalists.”

The school’s student editorial policies say that advisors will not act as censor or determine media content, the Denver Post reports.

“Rather, the advisers will teach journalistic skills and guide the students in making sound legal and ethical decisions,” said the policies. “School officials, administration or faculty and staff, likewise, shall not practice prior review or to censor any student media, with the exception of material deemed to be legally obscene, libelous, substantially and materially disruptive.”

The high school is a separate institution from Regis University, but both are affiliated with the Society of Jesus.

Regis University was the focus of controversy in November 2018 after the Jesuit institution hosted a drag show performed by students that purported to support transgender students. University officials had sent emails to faculty suggesting they attend the drag show, assign books by “queer, and especially transgender” authors to their students and add a preferred gender pronouns policy to their classroom syllabus.

Archbishop Aquila publicly objected that this guidance was not in conformity with the Catholic faith but rather was an example of “ideological colonization” repeatedly decried by Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope.

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DC attorney general announces abuse investigation

Washington D.C., Oct 23, 2018 / 09:47 am ( CNA ).- The District of Columbia’s attorney general has opened an investigation into clerical sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Washington. The announcement was made during a Mayor-Council breakfast meeting on Oct. 23.

A statement released by DC attorney general Karl Racinev said that “while we generally don’t talk publicly about our confidential enforcement activity, I can report that our office has launched a civil investigation into whether the Archdiocese – which is a nonprofit institution – violated the District’s Nonprofit Act by potentially covering up allegations of sexual abuse of minors.”

Racine told the breakfast meeting that “according to the law, nonprofits are required to work for a public purpose; if they are in fact covering up child sex abuse, that is clearly not in the public interest.”

CNA contacted the attorney general’s office and asked if the investigation was in response to allegations it had received, or if it was a proactive step being taken on the AG’s own initiative. A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office declined to comment and said they were not prepared to answer “detailed questions” about the announcement.  

Racine previously stated in a radio interview in August that he had received considerable pressure from the public to open such an investigation.

The Archdiocese of Washington is currently led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl as interim-administrator pending the appointment of a successor by Pope Francis.

A spokesman for the archdiocese told CNA that archdiocesan officials met with the attorney general last month and stressed their eagerness to engage in a collaborative and cooperative process.

The spokesman also said that the archdiocese encouraged the attorney general to consider a wider investigation into all bodies with a child protection mandate, including other charities and public schools, in the interests of the public good. “Clearly the attorney general has decided to go another way,” the spokesman said.

On Oct. 15, the Archdiocese of Washington released a list of clergy who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse. At the time of that release, the archdiocese stressed that no priest currently in ministry had been accused of sexual abuse, and that no credible allegations had been received concerning the abuse of minors in nearly twenty years.

News of the attorney general’s investigation comes only one day after the opening of a special hotline for residents of the district to report allegations of clerical sexual abuse. That line was announced Monday, Oct. 22 by federal prosecutors at the Superior Court Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Following the publication of the Pennsylvania grand jury report in July, attorneys general in several states have announced similar inquiries, including in Michigan, Missouri, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. Last week, federal prosecutors served subpoenas to the dioceses of Pennsylvania, opening a new investigation into clerical sexual abuse in that state.

The Washington attorney general specifically emphasised the trend, saying in his remarks Tuesday that “our investigation brings the count of states with open investigations to 14.”

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to nearly 700,000 Catholics, six Catholic colleges and universities, and 93 Catholic schools.

As the last archdiocese to be led by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Washington has been the subject of considerable attention and scrutiny during a summer in which several different sexual abuse scandals have unfolded at once.

Despite accusations of sexual abuse or harassment against McCarrick concerning his time in several dioceses in New York and New Jersey, no public accusations have been made concerning his time in Washington, either while archbishop or in retirement.

To help fight sex abuse, Catholic group offers guide to the news

Lansing, Mich., Nov 18, 2018 / 04:41 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic bishops must act to counter sex abuse of adults as well as minors, says a lay group that has compiled a reader of news stories, analysis and commentary to help renewal and reform.

&ldq… […]

Vandal destroys statue of the Virgin Mary in Colombia

Image of the Virgin Mary destroyed in Sopó (Colombia) / Credit: Courtesy photo

ACI Prensa Staff, Jan 5, 2023 / 16:00 pm (CNA). Early Wednesday morning, a man destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary that stood in a small brick grotto at the entran… […]

Para. 5 – “as a Catholic, Jesuit institution, we believe that life begins at the moment of conception”. That human life begins at conception is a scientific fact, not a matter of belief.

The fuzzy thinking displayed in the student’s essay is very discouraging.

The excerpts read like snippets from DNC talking points.

What are these students being taught in this school?

Even setting aside the monstrous inhumanity displayed in the piece, the mush-headedness alone is embarrassing.

Nineteen thousand dollars a year, times four.

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The end of Roe creates new challenges in higher education

Subscribe to the brown center on education policy newsletter, shelly j. lundberg and shelly j. lundberg leonard broom professor of demography; distinguished professor of economics - university of california, santa barbara dick startz dick startz professor of economics - university of california, santa barbara @profitofed.

August 9, 2022

The recent Dobbs decision by the Supreme Court , which overturned half a century of abortion rights, will affect wide areas of society, and higher education will be no exception. The impacts on higher education will fall into (at least) five areas: reduced college enrollment, particularly for Black women; disruption of training in medical schools; changes in on-campus student health services; reductions in out-of-state enrollment in anti-abortion states; and shifts in faculty location decisions away from anti-abortion states. For some of these issues, existing research provides a useful guide to likely outcomes. Other outcomes will take time to unfold and depend on how anti-abortion restrictions and enforcement evolve in individual states, but informed guesses are possible.

Reduced College Enrollment, Particularly for Black Women

There is very solid evidence that restricting abortion reduces educational achievement for women, at least for Black women. As part of the Dobbs case, 154 economists filed a Brief of Amici Curiae [1] that summarizes economic research findings on the effects of abortion availability and that reads in part:

Abortion legalization has had downstream impacts on women’s social and economic lives. Economists have also used the tools of causal inference to measure the effect of abortion legalization on women’s social and economic outcomes more broadly…Studies show that in addition to impacting births, abortion legalization has had a significant impact on women’s wages and educational attainment, with impacts most strongly felt by Black women.

One study finds that recent targeted restrictions by states that reduced access to abortion for women under the age of 18 reduced college enrollment and completion for Black women by one to three percentage points. Presumably, the elimination of most abortions will have a much larger impact, though the availability of medicinal abortion may provide alternative routes for some. Other research looking at the effect of allowing minors access to abortion without parental notification shows large positive effects on college graduation rates for Black women, who tend to have higher levels of unmet need for contraception than white women.

Some part of college enrollment shifts is due to avoiding unwanted births that make attending college difficult or impossible; some part also appears to be due to women with greater access to abortion and control over fertility timing choosing to make larger investments in human capital. Evidence from the pre-Roe period shows that young women’s access to abortion—even more than access to contraception—allowed women to delay marriage and motherhood.

Disruption of training in medical schools

Turning to the question of training in medical schools, the response to abortion restrictions is just beginning to be worked out . The response of universities is complicated both by the fact that standards for medical training are national and by the fact that some medical schools supply cross-state training. Roughly 44 percent of obstetrics and gynecology residents are in states where abortion training is likely to be restricted. Standards for training in this field are set by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which has proposed that medical schools located in states where training in abortion cannot be offered will be required to offer that training in other states—presumably through partnerships with schools in other states. Further complications for medical schools arise when training is provided across state lines. For example, the University of Washington medical school provides medical training for students from Idaho and Wyoming, both of which restrict abortion. While training specific to obstetrics and gynecology occurs only in Washington State, abortion training as background for family medicine doctors also occurs currently in the states that will be restricting abortion. It is not yet clear how the University of Washington or other institutions will change training in light of the conflict.

Changes in on-campus student health services

Most universities provide student health services, though the extent to which these services include abortion varies. The demand for abortion services by college students is not likely to be small. Reliable data is not available, but estimates based on demographically adjusted abortion rates in the population suggest that in California alone, students at public universities had medicinal abortions (using abortion pills) at a rate of between 300 and 500 students per month and in California community colleges at a rate of 800 to 1,100 a month . (California has approximately one million students in four-year public universities and approximately 1.2 million in community colleges.)

Student health services will also need to deal with increased demand for “Plan B” types of pregnancy prevention pills, which, even though they do not induce abortions, may still turn out to be restricted in some states. In many circumstances, there will be significant uncertainty over what is legally/politically acceptable, especially in coming months as institutions adjust to the new legal contexts in states. As an example, the University of Texas at Austin has recently removed a paragraph from its website informing students about options when pregnant. In June, Vanderbilt University established a task force to work out a response to Tennessee’s strong restrictions on abortion. The Federal government’s recently proposed changes to Title IX clarify that pregnancy, miscarriage, and abortions are conditions entitled to the same protections as other medical conditions (e.g., being medically excused from classes). Exactly how protections for pregnant students interact with restrictions on abortion—privacy protection for students seeking information about abortion, for example—will take some working out.

Reductions in out-of-state enrollment in anti-abortion states

About one in five college students attends college out-of-state . Will fewer out-of-state students choose to study in abortion-restricting states and will more high school graduates choose to leave these states for college? The Washington Post gives the example of Rice University in Texas , where a quarter of the students come from states such as California where abortion remains legal while 40 percent of the students are from Texas and another 12 percent come from other states prohibiting most abortions. Will Rice see either an outflow of Texas students or a reduced inflow from California? It is too early for there to be evidence on the magnitude of abortion-restriction induced changes in student location choices. What we do know is that states with restrictive laws have hitherto imported out-of-state college students at roughly the national rate, with the exception of Texas where a relatively small portion of students are from out-of-state. What seems likely is that many universities will see little effect, as they have few out-of-state students and serve populations not likely to attend college out-of-state—but the enrollment risks for colleges where potential students have more options will be uncertain over the next several years.

Shifts in faculty locations away from anti-abortion states

If one believes the Twitterverse, many faculty are seeking to quit jobs in abortion-restricting states and move to more woman-friendly environments. (Anecdotally, motivations include protecting the health of young women faculty, bringing up daughters in restrictive states, and perhaps political discomfort from faculty who tend to be more pro-choice than the population at large in abortion restricting states.) It has also been suggested that universities can raid disaffected faculty in restrictive states. It is too early for there to be any real evidence on whether many faculty will move. It may be worth noting, however, that there is not any research currently on abortion access as a major determinant of faculty location before Roe, or in the face of more recent decreases in abortion availability in many states. In practice, faculty rarely move, especially once they’ve earned tenure. Our best guess is that the change in the law will induce fairly few moves but that the change may lead faculty who are moving for other reasons—notably, those at the beginning of their career—to favor destinations that have not imposed restrictions on abortion, impacting the recruiting opportunities for many colleges.

In summary, it seems certain that the loss of Roe will reduce college attendance of Black women in states restricting abortion. We expect that some universities will see shifts in student demand across state lines, but the magnitude of such shifts is not known. A variety of policies pertaining to both medical training and student health provision will need to be rethought. And while there may be effects directly on faculty, we anticipate that actual relocation of faculty will be relatively small, at least initially.

1. Shelly J. Lundberg is one of the amici curiae in the Supreme Court brief referenced above.

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Florida Supreme Court upholds 15-week abortion ban, rules on ballot measure

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - As pro-choice advocates attempt to change the state Constitution, the Florida Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a law banning abortions after 15 weeks.

Justices released an opinion rejecting Planned Parenthood’s challenge to a state law passed in 2022 banning abortions after 15 weeks on Monday. The court was tasked with interpreting the Constitution’s “privacy clause.”

Justices explained the Florida Constitution guarantees “the right to be left alone and free from governmental intrusion into . . . private life.” However, they concluded the clause does not give a basis to invalidate the state’s abortion ban.

Federally, the concept of a “right to privacy” was the constitutional basis underpinning Roe V. Wade’s abortion protections. In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the landmark decision, ruling the Constitution does not protect the right to privacy and sending the issue of abortion to the states.

The state court’s ruling overturned prior rulings including the 2017 case Gainesville Woman Care versus state. Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center , an abortion clinic in Gainesville , brought the case.

Also on Monday, the state Supreme Court ruled on ballot language for a proposed amendment to the state Constitution to protect the right to abortion. The ruling ensured the issue would be put before the voters in November.

Following the ruling on the 15-week ban, the state’s 6-week ban, which was put on hold pending the outcome of the case, will go into effect in 30 days.

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high school essay on abortion

Biden campaign says it sees Florida as 'winnable' in 2024

Against all odds, Joe Biden’s campaign says it has a shot in Florida.

Donald Trump has won the state twice, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ near 20-point victory in 2022 seemed to solidify the state as a safe haven for Republicans. But Biden’s campaign says it has a pathway to victory there in November — built in large part on the state’s unique place in the abortion debate — and it plans to contrast the administration's policies with what it's calling the GOP's “toxic political agenda" there.

“Make no mistake: Florida is not an essay state to win, but it is a winnable one for President Biden, especially given Trump’s weak, cash-strapped campaign, and serious vulnerabilities within his coalition,” Julie Chávez Rodríguez, Biden’s campaign manager, wrote in a memo shared first with NBC News.

Between DeSantis’ historically large re-election win in the 2022 midterms and the fact that Republicans have quickly amassed a more than 800,000-person voter-registration lead over Democrats, Florida has lost its long-held moniker as “the nation’s largest swing state” and is no longer perceived as being a heavily contested battleground state.

Biden’s team, however, believes that abortion, among other issues, gives it the ability to be more competitive in the state. On Monday, the state’s high court approved a ballot measure that would allow abortion up to 24 weeks, when there is viability outside the womb, and said Florida's current 15-week abortion ban is constitutional, which means that a newly-passed six week abortion ban can now be enacted.

The memo notes that "abortion rights will be front and center in Florida this election cycle."

"This new, extreme abortion ban — one that Donald Trump personally paved the way for — will now amount to a ban for the entire Southeast," read the memo regarding the six-week abortion ban now coming to Florida. "Women in need of reproductive care throughout the region now face a choice between putting their lives at risk or traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to get care."

Democrats hope the abortion issue will help their candidates in Florida up and down the ballot. A University of North Florida poll in November found 62% of respondents said they would vote “yes” on the abortion ballot measure, which would need 60% approval for passage.

Last week, the Biden campaign rolled out its leadership team in the state, including Florida veterans Jasmine Burney Clark, Phillip Jerez and Jackie Lee. But top-level Trump aides also have significant Florida experience — most notably senior adviser Susie Wiles and James Blair, a longtime Trump aide who was recently made political director of the Republican National Committee.

Florida Republicans have grown increasingly confident as they control all aspects of political power in the state and their overwhelming voter registration advantage continues to grow.

“It seems the only thing consistent in the world these days is Democrats claiming they will somehow have a shot at winning Florida,” the state's GOP chairman, Evan Power, said. “Floridians have rejected the radical left policies of Joe Biden. It’s why Republicans have gone from down 100,000 net voters to nearly a 900,000 advantage in just four years.”

“Rest assured, Florida will deliver a resounding victory for President Trump and our Republican team in November,” he added.

A Biden campaign spokesman would not break out a specific budget or the exact amount the campaign has spent to date in Florida, but it did include TV and digital ads focused on the state’s key Hispanic population as part of a $30 million battleground state ad buy earlier this year, and it says it has multiple pathways to winning re-election.

“That includes investing in Florida as a pathway to victory: a state where President Biden has a compelling story of results to tell,” wrote Chavez Rodriguez. 

The campaign plans to try to tether Trump to a series of policy measures enacted by DeSantis and Florida’s GOP-dominated Legislature in recent years, including the state’s abortion bans, a rewiring of the state’s education system — which made it easier for people to flag books in school libraries they want banned — and those that targeted the state’s LGBTQ communities.

Biden's team wants to juxtapose those measures against things like Florida leading the nation in Affordable Care Act enrollment, and that the state received $15.6 billion from the president’s infrastructure bill to fund 581 projects.

Bolstering Biden’s efforts in a state that many see as not being in play is Democrat’s massive cash advantage over Trump and national Republican committees. At the start of March, Democrats had $155 million in the bank, compared with $42 million available to Trump’s operation.

It allows Biden to at least entertain the idea of trying to expand the map in Florida and force Republicans to potentially spend resources they do not have in the state.

“From a cruel and dangerous abortion ban and overt attacks on seniors to soaring costs caused by Republican politics, Donald Trump’s platform is uniquely unpopular with the voters who will decide this election in the Sunshine State,” Chávez Rodríguez wrote. "Our campaign is primed and ready to seize on the opportunity.”

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Biden campaign says it sees Florida as 'winnable' in 2024

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high school essay on abortion

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high school essay on abortion

Should college essays touch on race? Some feel the affirmative action ruling leaves them no choice

When the supreme court ended affirmative action, it left the college essay as one of few places where race can play a role in admissions decisions.

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, sits for a portrait in the school library where he often worked on writing his college essays, in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, sits for a portrait in the school library where he often worked on writing his college essays, in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

Amanda Loman / AP

Like many students, Max Decker of Portland, Oregon, had drafted a college essay on one topic, only to change direction after the Supreme Court ruling in June.

Decker initially wrote about his love for video games. In a childhood surrounded by constant change, navigating his parents’ divorce, the games he took from place to place on his Nintendo DS were a source of comfort.

But the essay he submitted to colleges focused on the community he found through Word is Bond, a leadership group for young Black men in Portland.

As the only biracial, Jewish kid with divorced parents in a predominantly white, Christian community, Decker wrote he felt like the odd one out. On a trip with Word is Bond to Capitol Hill, he and friends who looked just like him shook hands with lawmakers. The experience, he wrote, changed how he saw himself.

“It’s because I’m different that I provide something precious to the world, not the other way around,” wrote Decker, whose top college choice is Tulane, in New Orleans, because of the region’s diversity.

This year’s senior class is the first in decades to navigate college admissions without affirmative action . The Supreme Court upheld the practice in decisions going back to the 1970s, but this court’s conservative supermajority found it is unconstitutional for colleges to give students extra weight because of their race alone.

Still, the decision left room for race to play an indirect role: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote universities can still consider how an applicant’s life was shaped by their race, “so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability.”

Scores of colleges responded with new essay prompts asking about students’ backgrounds.

FILE - Demonstrators protest outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, in this June 29, 2023 file photo, after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, saying race cannot be a factor.

FILE - Demonstrators protest outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, in this June 29, 2023 file photo, after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, saying race cannot be a factor.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

Writing about feeling more comfortable with being Black

When Darrian Merritt started writing his essay, his first instinct was to write about events that led to him going to live with his grandmother as a child. Those were painful memories, but he thought they might play well at schools like Yale, Stanford and Vanderbilt.

“I feel like the admissions committee might expect a sob story or a tragic story,” said Merritt, a senior in Cleveland. “I wrestled with that a lot.”

Eventually he abandoned the idea and aimed for an essay that would stand out for its positivity.

Merritt wrote about a summer camp where he started to feel more comfortable in his own skin. He described embracing his personality and defying his tendency to please others. But the essay also reflects on his feelings of not being “Black enough” and getting made fun of for listening to “white people music.”

Related: Oregon colleges, universities weigh potential outcomes of US Supreme Court decision on affirmative action

Essay about how to embrace natural hair

When Hillary Amofa started writing her college essay, she told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. About being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana and growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. About hardship and struggle.

Then she deleted it all.

“I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18-year-old senior at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.”

Amofa was just starting to think about her essay when the court issued its decision, and it left her with a wave of questions. Could she still write about her race? Could she be penalized for it? She wanted to tell colleges about her heritage but she didn’t want to be defined by it.

In English class, Amofa and her classmates read sample essays that all seemed to focus on some trauma or hardship. It left her with the impression she had to write about her life’s hardest moments to show how far she’d come. But she and some classmates wondered if their lives had been hard enough to catch the attention of admissions offices.

Hillary Amofa, laughs as she participates in a team building game with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. "I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping," said the 18 year-old senior, "And I'm just like, this doesn't really say anything about me as a person."

Hillary Amofa, laughs as she participates in a team building game with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. "I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping," said the 18 year-old senior, "And I'm just like, this doesn't really say anything about me as a person."

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Amofa used to think affirmative action was only a factor at schools like Harvard and Yale. After the court’s ruling, she was surprised to find that race was taken into account even at public universities she was applying to.

Now, without affirmative action, she wondered if mostly white schools will become even whiter.

It’s been on her mind as she chooses between Indiana University and the University of Dayton, both of which have relatively few Black students. When she was one of the only Black students in her grade school, she could fall back on her family and Ghanaian friends at church. At college, she worries about loneliness.

“That’s what I’m nervous about,” she said. “Going and just feeling so isolated, even though I’m constantly around people.”

Related: Some Oregon universities, politicians disappointed in Supreme Court decision on affirmative action

The first drafts of her essay didn’t tell colleges about who she is now, she said.

Her final essay describes how she came to embrace her natural hair. She wrote about going to a mostly white grade school where classmates made jokes about her afro.

Over time, she ignored their insults and found beauty in the styles worn by women in her life. She now runs a business doing braids and other hairstyles in her neighborhood.

“Criticism will persist,” she wrote “but it loses its power when you know there’s a crown on your head!”

Ma reported from Portland, Oregon.

The Associated Press’ education coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at .

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FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises during an Israeli ground operation in Khan Younis, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from a tent camp sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip March 14, 2024. REUTERS/Bassam Masoud/File Photo

(Reuters) - The United States and Israel are expected to hold a virtual meeting on Monday to discuss the Biden administration's alternative proposals to an Israeli military invasion of Rafah, Axios reported on Sunday citing three Israeli and U.S. officials.

(Reporting by Rishabh Jaiswal in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters .

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RAFAH, GAZA - FEBRUARY 22: Palestinian families, who have been repeatedly displaced due to Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, live in the makeshift tents in an empty area in southern Rafah, Gaza on February 22, 2024. (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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high school essay on abortion

How Nicole Shanahan rose through tech and law to RFK Jr.'s ticket

Nicole Shanahan.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has found an unlikely — but like-minded — running mate for his independent presidential ticket . 

Tech lawyer Nicole Shanahan has no government experience and no national profile, and she is one of the most unusual selections for a high-profile running mate in recent memory. She is far less known than some of the other names Kennedy considered, including NFL star Aaron Rodgers and actor and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. 

But what she does offer is a similar worldview to Kennedy's, presumed loyalty to the person who plucked her from relative obscurity and — perhaps most important — enormous wealth that the Kennedy-Shanahan campaign could tap far in excess of contribution limits that would apply to donors who are not themselves candidates.

Shanahan, 38, also offers a youth and vitality that Kennedy often says is necessary in politics. And she has already demonstrated her commitment to Kennedy’s cause, revealing in February that she donated $4 million to a pro-Kennedy super PAC to help pay for a Super Bowl ad .

Despite mostly supporting progressive and center-left Democrats in the past, Shanahan has said that she was motivated to support Kennedy in part because of concerns about children’s health and the environment, including vaccines, and she has also expressed opposition to the research money that has poured into the in-vitro fertilization industry.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

She defended Kennedy’s advocacy against vaccines to Newsweek this year, saying that “being called an anti-vaxxer is so unfair” and that “we need to have a safe space” to discuss the issue.

A life in the world's tech capital

Shanahan, a tech lawyer and entrepreneur turned philanthropist from Oakland, California, has lived a life that has intersected with some of the most important technologies and business titans in Silicon Valley.

Shanahan, born to parents who struggled financially, said that her family was on food stamps and that she started working at age 12 to help make ends meet. 

“My dad was diagnosed with bipolar schizophrenia when I was 9, and my Chinese-born mom had only been in the United States for two years when I was born,” she told San Francisco magazine for a profile in 2021. “So not only was there no money, there was almost no parental guidance, and as you can imagine with a mentally ill father, there was lots of chaos and fear.”

She credits the internet with helping her escape, and technology would come to dominate her life after she graduated from the University of Puget Sound and returned to the Bay Area, attending Santa Clara University School of Law and then diving into the intersection of the legal and tech worlds.

In a landscape where innovation often outpaces regulation, she founded ClearAccessIP, a company that uses artificial intelligence technology to help patent holders manage their intellectual property, according to its website. The company was acquired by IPwe in 2020.

Shanahan married Google co-founder Sergey Brin in 2018 and divorced him in 2022. That year, The Wall Street Journal reported that she had an affair with billionaire Elon Musk, but both Shanahan and Musk have denied the accusation. The Journal has stood by its reporting.

“The WSJ’s narrative that an affair with Elon Musk led to the end of my marriage was about as accurate as claiming that the body heat of polar bears is responsible for the melting of the Arctic ice caps,” she wrote last year in a first-person essay for People. “It felt senseless and cruel.”

After the divorce from Brin, who is worth an estimated $121 billion, according to Forbes, she transitioned to full-time philanthropy work. 

Shanahan’s charity, the Bia-Echo Foundation , says its mission is to “create a multiplying effect” on issues Shanahan cares about, including “reproductive longevity & equality, criminal justice reform and a healthy & livable planet.”

She started that work through her ex-husband’s foundation, announcing a $100 million commitment in 2019 to programs aimed at helping women become pregnant later in life, in addition to exploring solutions to criminal justice reform and climate change. 

Fertility issues have been a focus of her foundation and her investment firm, Planeta Ventures, and a later gift of $6 million helped create the Center for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality; she said her goal is to help women be able to have children into their mid-50s .

However, Shanahan has advocated against supporting IVF research, because, in her view, it detracts from understanding the root causes of infertility. And she has argued the procedure is “ sold irresponsibly ” and has become more of a “commercial endeavor” than a scientific one, calling its promise “one of the biggest lies that’s being told about women’s health today.”

“Many of the IVF clinics are financially incentivized to offer you egg freezing and IVF and not incentivized to offer you other fertility services,” Shanahan told The New Yorker last year.

“I’m so often told that IVF is this great technology, and I always get questioned why I’m not more supportive of IVF,” she said in an online video series . “I’ve tried to imagine where we would be as a field if all of the money that has been invested in IVF and all of the money that’s been invested into marketing IVF and all of the government money that has been invested in subsidizing IVF, if just 10% of that went into reproductive longevity, research and fundamental research.”

That view could be especially relevant this year as both parties debate abortion rights after the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade. An Alabama Supreme Court ruling this year that frozen embryos created for IVF were people briefly halted procedures in the state — and made the issue a national political hot button.

Politicians from both parties rushed to voice their support for IVF, and Democrats argued that longtime GOP positioning on abortion legislation and “personhood” laws would have the effect of restricting IVF.

Her position on vaccines and other past advocacy

Shanahan’s 2023 essay also reveals how her experience with the reporting around her marriage led her to adopt a more jaundiced view of the news media, which is a frequent target of Kennedy’s.

“They displayed a reckless thirst for a popular hit piece, no matter the cost it would have on my life,” she wrote.

She and Brin had a daughter, Echo, who was diagnosed with autism at a young age. Shanahan has said she is committed to investing her wealth in understanding the causes and treatments of the disorder.

Many vaccine skeptics, including Kennedy, have said vaccines cause autism — even though experts say there is no evidence supporting the claim and the key research papers that made the link were later retracted , with their lead author widely discredited after he was found to have manipulated his data .

Kennedy took a leave from his post as the leader of the country’s best-funded anti-vaccine organization, Children’s Health Defense, to run for president, and he has since included a number of anti-vaccine activists in his campaign. 

Last summer, Shanahan “ committed ” to her partner, Jacob Strumwasser, an executive of a company working on “next-generation of bitcoin financial software,” whom she met at Burning Man.

“We were living parallel surfing lives,” she told People last year, “and then we met at Burning Man, which is the driest place on the planet.”

Kennedy kicked off his campaign with a speech at a Bitcoin convention in Miami, which was his first public appearance as a candidate. And he has spoken often about the promise of cryptocurrency. 

Politically, Shanahan has donated heavily to Democrats and progressive causes, such as criminal justice reform ballot measures, according to campaign finance records. 

In 2020, she gave $2,800 to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and co-hosted a fundraiser for Buttigieg, who is the transportation secretary. She also gave $2,800 to Democratic contender Marianne Williamson during the last election cycle, before she donated $25,000 to the fundraising efforts backing Joe Biden. She also gave the maximum $6,600 to Kennedy’s campaign last year, before she announced the larger gift to the super PAC for the Super Bowl ads.

Shanahan also gave to several Democratic congressional candidates in battleground districts in 2018. And she gave the maximum $5,400 contribution to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Asked in 2022 about her politics, she told Puck: “I don’t think about it in terms of party. I think about it in terms of people, places and ideas.” That attitude reflects Kennedy’s own rhetoric, especially since he left the Democratic presidential primary campaign to run as an independent. 

While there is no obvious precedent for vice presidential candidates bankrolling their campaigns, Federal Election Commission rules exempt candidates funding their own campaigns from contribution limits, so it appears she would be able to contribute or lend as much money as she wants to the Kennedy campaign. 

The campaign needs money to fund its ballot access work, including the painstaking and expensive work of gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures from dozens of states. 

While major-party candidates typically wait until the summer to announce their running mates, one reason Kennedy did so now is because deadlines are coming up in some states that require submission of both names on tickets to get on ballots.

high school essay on abortion

Alex Seitz-Wald is a senior politics reporter for NBC News.


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